Matupi Locals to Protest ‘One-Sided Decision’ Placing District Office Out of Town

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Residents of southern Chin State are planning a demonstration against the proposed location of the Matupi District Office—eight miles from the town.

“Our local people want the district office to be built downtown,” Tate Min, a Matupi elder, told Khonumthung.

“Elders, the municipal community, civil society organizations, four ward administrators, respective department heads and two members of parliament proposed that the Chin State government build the district office downtown. But the state government rejected our proposal. That’s why we are going to demonstrate again.”

A protest date has not been set, he added.

The district office is set to be built in Phanai Ngalai village, after the government reportedly rejected four other proposed locations.

Locals originally challenged the decision, Tate Min said, adding that experts did not scope out locations that were suggested in the Matupi town center, and that the decision was made at the state level.

“We showed them many places available downtown, but they didn’t survey them,” he explained.

“They said they were not permitted to survey land downtown—the government’s housing department didn’t allow it. It’s a one-sided decision. We oppose it and we are going to demonstrate against it.

The idea for a “Matupi District” was put forward in 2017, to combine Matupi and Paletwa townships. But because of the dispute over the district office’s location, it has yet to be constructed.

State MP for Matupi Township Awng Liang told Khonumthung News that he hoped there would be greater transparency in the decision-making process, but that there was nothing he could do at this point to stop the construction of the office in Phanai Ngalai.

“Experts need to explain how they give scores when they choose a proposed place [for an office],” he said. “In my opinion, construction won’t be delayed, even though

[locals]

are going to hold a demonstration against it. Regarding this, I cannot interfere in government processes.” U Tin Myint, the deputy minister of the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government—which is absorbing the General Administrative Department—explained in a meeting on March 14 that the government had already approved the construction budget for the Matupi District office building.

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