Chin State Govt Confirms Controversial Location for Matupi District Office

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Matupi’s new district office will be built in Hpalai-Ngalai village—outside the town of Matupi—Chin State municipal minister U Soe Htet has confirmed.

For more than seven months, locals have protested this location for the office, because it is nine miles from the nearest town. They requested that it be built in the Matupi municipal area instead.

The decision “doesn’t mean that we don’t respect the local people in Matupi,” Minister U Soe Htet told Khonumthung News.

“We respect the voice of the people. We listened to the voice of the people. But if we listen to everyone’s voices, we would have to withdraw from this project,” the minister said. “We are working for the development of this region. If people are excessively opposed to the management by the [state]government, in the end, people will suffer. Therefore, our state government confirmed that the Matupi District Office will be built in Hpalai-Ngalai village, and we are also going to build housing there.”

When they met with Burma’s Vice President Henry Van Thio on a trip to Matupi Township last week, area locals had demanded that the district office be built on the Fulper Grounds, located between Hpalai-Ngalai and Matupi. A failure to do so would mean continued discontent, they said.

“We will continue to protest against the venue for the district office until the Chin State government changes its policy,” local Bu Hpwi told Khonumthung News. “We already discussed it in our township elders meeting. We are really surprised that they are not listening to the voice of the people. Our elders don’t oppose this project but we want this district office to be built in the municipal area. We don’t want any government which doesn’t listen to the voices of people,” he explained.

U Soe Htet added that just over four months remain for the construction of the office according to the original deadline, due to the ongoing dispute. The state government has put out a call for tenders for companies wishing to build the office and associated housing—the call closes on May 10, and meetings with competing companies will take place on May 20, he said.

“In my opinion, it will be very difficult for the company that wins the tender to build this office building in four months with this financial budget,” U Soe Htet said.

For this reason, he explained that government representatives are considering designating the Ministry of Construction as the builders of the project.
The Union government has allocated nearly 1.825 billion kyat (more than US$1.2 million) for the construction of the district office during the 2018-2019 financial year.

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