Over 260 Households Forced to Contribute for Indo-Burma Rih Road Construction
25 April 2012: At least 267 households from 10 villages in Falam Township, Chin State have been ordered to make financial contributions for re-construction of Falam Rih road, according to a Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) source.
The forcible collection began when the government of Chin State asked for assistance in February this year from village chairmen and the local road construction committee for completion of Falam Rih road, constructed on a self-help basis by local communities.
At least 1,000 kyats has been forcibly collected from each household of 70 from Leilet, 50 from Singai, 25 from Tlangkawi, 7 from Selawn, 12 from Ngailan, 18 each from Haimual and Thipcang, 30 from Hnahthial-A and 12 from Hnahthial-B, according to a Haimual villager.
Reconstruction of the 80-mile long Falam Rih road connecting Chin State of Burma and Mizoram State of India began early this year with funds contributed by Falam communities based in foreign countries.
The government of Chin State has been severely criticized for providing no or little assistance towards construction of the Indo-Burma road and for claiming the credit for development works done by the local communities.
“The government officials come and go only for the opening ceremony of the road. They make a lot of promises and never keep them. Therefore, we, the local people, have got to rely on ourselves and work together,” said one of the community leaders.
On 18 January 2012, Chief Minister U Hung Ngai attended the inauguration for upgrading Falam Rih road, promising to provide unstinting necessary support for the construction, according to the Khonumthung News.
The Falam Rih road was re-opened in late 2009 after a closure of nearly 10 years by the military authorities.
Mid this month, Chief Minister U Hung Ngai inaugurated a new ‘Saisihchuak’ road in Thantlang township near the Indo-Burma border, funded and constructed by the local villagers in collaboration with Chin communities abroad.
Earlier this month, Chief Minister Pu Hung Ngai held an official opening ceremony for the Mindat-Aukcheng Jeep road, also funded and constructed by local villagers, in Mindat Township, Chin State.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang