April 12, 2021
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New Var bridge on Kalay-Falam-Hakha road opened

(Photo: IPRD Falam/Facebook)

30 October 2020 – The Chin State government organized a ribbon-cutting ceremony of a newly completed bridge over Manipur River on the Kalay-Falam-Hakha-Thantlang road in Falam Township last Tuesday.

Chief Minister Salai Lian Luai, together with State government cabinet members and community leaders, attended the event that opened the second Var bridge near Falam town.

Biak Mawi, administrator of Var village, said that the [existing] bridge was old and not strong, and that the villagers were worried when there was heavy rain, adding: “Now that we have a new bridge, we can feel safe.”

The Var bridge plays an important link as it is on the main road connecting Kalay, Sagaing Region and Falam, Hakha and Thantlang towns in Chin State for transportation.

Dar Lian Uk, a leading member of the Falam municipal committee, said: “The existing Var bridge was affected by the 2015 disaster and it was closed for a short period of time for safety reasons.”

He added that the chief minister had taken necessary action afterwards as he had known that people would have difficulties if the bridge was not usable.

Construction of the new ‘reinforced concrete’ bridge, which is 557.77ft (170m) long, 30ft (9m) wide and 9.8ft (3m) high from the water, started in mid 2018 with a total budget of 4,050 million Kyats spent, allocated by both the Union and State governments, according to the MRTV news.

Last year, the Chin World Media reported that some villagers were not happy with the construction plan as they were not informed in advance and as their farmland were to be confiscated. To this, the State government said that they had realized the issues but the responsible departments and engineers were then conducting survey and in the discussion stage.

In October 2018, Vice President Henry Van Thio inspected the proposed construction site, the Global New Light of Myanmar said.

According to the New Light of Myanmar newspaper, the 340-foot-long old bridge was rebuilt in ‘reinforced concrete lower structure and bailey frame upper structure for increasing endurance’ in 2001, replacing the previous one built in 1998.

The current NLD-led State government has been criticized as using new development of infrastructures as part of their election campaigns while remaining silent on conflict issues in Paletwa Township, Chin State. – Reporting by Cer Len Ci and Naomy VT Chin with Thawng Zel Thang

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