Residents threaten Mandalay for ignoring Bagan
BAGAN residents on Thursday threatened to file a complaint against the Mandalay regional government with the Anti-corruption Commission if it ignore their plea to protect the city’s ancient cultural heritage.
U Myo Satt San, leader of a community-based group Save Bagan, said they have pleaded with the authorities for more than two years to preserve Bagan’s cultural heritage amid the onslaught of modernisation, but the pleas have been ignored.
In 2016, the residents sent letters to the State Counsellor’s office and the regional government calling for action against modern buildings being constructed in the ancient cultural zone.
They asked for conservation work there to be led by experts and that local residents and NGOS ensure the project’s transparency.
They further asked for reviews of the allocation of public land, roads and farmland confiscated in the ancient heritage zone and to take action against those erecting fences along the Ayeyarwady River.
“We demand these things as we elected [the government]. It is not only for us. It is for all. We want to protect the ancient culture,” said U San Win, a resident.
U Myo Satt San said that they will wait another three months for the regional government to act on their demands.
If no action is taken, they will file a complaint with the Anti-corruption Commission,” he said at a news briefing.
“If the commission refuses to deal with us, we will complain to the president,” he added.
Ko Myint Zaw, another resident said, “Weddings and parties are being celebrated in Bagan Nan Taw Yar. They damage Bagan.”
He added that regulations of the Department of Archaeology must be enforced.
U Myint Than, deputy director of Archaeology and National Museum Department, said the authorities did not ignore the local people.
“After talks with hotel owners, we arranged to allow the public to visit pagodas in hotel compounds. We also erected direction signs,” he said.
UNESCO is currently conducting a year-long evaluation of the Bagan heritage area which has been proposed as a world heritage site, and the decision on whether to list it will be made next year.