Chief Minister: Poverty Rate in Chin State to Reduce by Half
20 October 2011: U Hung Ngai, Chief Minister of Chin State, has claimed that work is now underway to halve poverty rate in Burma’s poorest state, according to the official New Light of Myanmar yesterday.
Ex-Brig Gen Hung Ngai said in his report to the second programmes of the work coordination meeting for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation in Naypyidaw, more schools, private banks and 337 libraries will be opened across Chin State, with ongoing follow-up tasks for rural development.
Meanwhile, during the second regular session of first Amyotha Hluttaw on Tuesday, Chin MPs raised questions about the basic needs of getting ‘safe and sufficient’ drinking water in their constituencies.
More than 70 percent of people in Chin State are under poverty line, with 68 percent having no access to health care, according to a report in June this year by the UNDP, which ranked the northwestern state as the poorest among Burma’s 14 states and divisions.
Earlier this year, the UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) said the increase in urban population, and the depletion of water sources as well as aging water supply systems in rural Chin areas are affecting water availability.
The Chief Minister also stressed the ongoing cooperation with NGOs and INGOs in agricultural sectors and plans to increase the use of energy to improve the living conditions of Chin people, some of whom are still recovering from the bamboo-and-rat-caused food crisis.
But a local rights group said that tackling poverty in Chin State needs a parallel effort to address the basic human rights of Chin people, as rights violations exacerbate or are the root of poverty.
“Forced labor, extortion and arbitrary taxation by Burmese army and local authorities are contributing to, and exacerbating poverty in Chin State. These kinds of violations have substantial negative impacts on the people in a State where more than 70 percent of the population are living in abject poverty,” says Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of CHRO (Chin Human Rights Organization), which monitors rights situations in Chin State.
Van Biak Thang