Thursday, February 4, 2010

Junta Builds Industrial Zone in Sittwe Without Electricity and Water

2/4/2010

Sittwe: The military authority has built an industrial zone in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, for privately owned industries, but has not supplied it with power or water yet, said one owner of an auto garage.

"The private industries located in downtown Sittwe were forced by state authorities to move to the industrial zone starting 19 January, but we are facing problems because there are no facilities like power and water to set up in the industrial zone," he said.

On 19 January, 2010, the chairman of the Arakan State Peace and Development Council, General Thaung Aye, invited all owners of private industries in Sittwe to attend a meeting about the industrial zone. At the meeting, General Thaung Aye ordered the private industries to move out of downtown and out to the industrial zone.

The industrial zone is seven miles from downtown Sittwe and is located in a five-mile wide area at Setroo Kya Creek.

"The authority told us all industries in our town, like auto garages, biscuit factories, drink factories, and ice factories must move to the industrial zone before 15 February. Some private owners have moved their business but have been facing many problems because there is no power and water," he said.

The authority in Sittwe can only supply the city itself with three hours of electricity a day, and the electricity does not yet run to the industrial zone.

Another businessman from Sittwe said, "The private industry owners understand the industrial zone is not yet operating due to a shortage of power, but they have set up some small rooms on plots in the zone to avoid government action."

General Thaung Aye told the private industrial owners in the meeting that the authority is going to confiscate the plots in the zone if there is no building being done. After that threat, the owners began constructing buildings on their plots in the industrial zone.

According to local sources, the junta has been claiming since it gained power in 1988 that it would set up many business zones in Arakan like the industrial zone in Sittwe, the economic zones in Kyauk Pru and Maungdaw, and provide economic development for the state, but until now nothing has been implemented.

The junta received criticism from the public about the lack of development of such an industrial zone in Sittwe, and it is believed that the current industrial zone was established in response to such criticism.

In Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, there are no large mills or factories because of the shortage of power, but the authority nonetheless announced it would build an industrial zone in Sittwe in 2010.

"The industrial zone in Sittwe is impossible to be built in the present condition because there is no power, capital, or other infrastructure or facilities, but the authority is still trying it. I think it is only propaganda by the authority," the businessman said.

Ref: Narinjara

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