By Nandar Win
Photo: Tar Yar
Embracing New Opportunities from Reforms: Kayin State Government
Mount Zwegabin, adjoining major city is Hpa-an just 8.2 km northwest, where globe trotters and local visitors enjoyed with much satisfaction.
The top of Zwegabin is 722 metres (2,372 ft) above sea level, a landmark of Kayin State. Trekking high above the mountain, there are two entry / exit points namely “Kha Nauk Noe Village Entrance” and “Lommani Uyin Entrance”. Much nearer to the Thanlwin Bridge, the travelers usually enter from “Lommani Uyin Entrance”. The surroundings around the mountains are a mosaic of agricultural land and natural vegetation.
It is located in the region of Kayin State, in the southern part of the country, around 450 km south of the capital Nay Pyi Taw. Kayin State spread (70) miles from east to west, and stretches (326) miles from north to south. It borders with Shan State in the north and Kayah State; and sharing (312) miles with Thailand in the east. In the south, there is Mon State and Thaninthayi Region; and that it borders with Bago Region in the west.
Embracing in its fold, Kayin State has (4) districts; (7) townships; (11) towns; (86) wards; (376) village tracts; and (2,097) villages. It hosts (1 point 6) million populations, with homes of Kayin, Mon, Bamar and Pa-O nationalities.
Paddy, bean and pulses, and corn are the main crops grown in Kayin State. Sericulture is the practice of rearing silkworms for production of raw silk, and that it started the breeding in March 2018 at Hpa-an – Ka Maw Ka Poe (Special Farming Plot). An agreement was signed between the Kayin State Government and the JICA.
With the joint efforts of the staff members of Kayin State Agriculture Department and the experts from Japan stepped into pilot project beginning June 2018. The farming succeeded in producing (106,000) silk cocoons, and earned cash from wet cocoons and dry cocoons.
Road communication plays a vital role in the development of Kayin State, and that “East – West Economic Corridor ASEAN Road” is there where Kayin State and Thailand meets.
The Kayin State Government has given priority for better road communication for the development of the trade sector. The trade volume via the Myawady border trade area stands as the second largest trade flow and good income earner in Myanmar.
The Thai–Myanmar Friendship Bridge No (2) is a bridge over the Thaung Yin River in Myawaddy Township. This international bridge is (760) meters long and (17) meters wide built at a cost of (3,900) millions Thai Baht.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi opened the second Thai-Myanmar Bridge across the Thaung Yin River on 19 March 2019.
The project, GMS East-West Economic Corridor, is upgrading more than 66-kilometre section of the road between Eindu and Kawkareik in Kayin State, with the loan from ADB. It is to provide year round access with design features that cut travel time, increase safety and boost climate resiliency. The remaining (29) kilometres would be completed by May 2021.
The New Jai-Kawkareik Bridge on the East-West Economic Corridor Improvement Project is of a reinforced concrete type and measures (1903) ft. in length and (74) ft. in width four-lane. The RC suspension facility is being built with ODA loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency at the cost of Japanese Yen (4,700) millions and MMK (26,000) millions. During four years period, many roads and many bridges in Kayin State have been renovated, repaired and revamped.
In accordance with the policy guidelines of the nation, the Kayin State is exporting live cattle and buffalo beginning 9 October 2017. In keeping with the international standard in the export of live cattle and buffalo, the livestock disease control and monitoring station is opened at Kawkareik.
The control station was built at the cost of MMK (554) millions, and that the livestock health matters are carried out including the issuance of “Animal Quarantine Certificate” in accordance with the international norm. When the station is fully completed, it will comply in accordance with the OIE-World Organization for Animal Health.
Dams and Embankments Sector
Since the area is mainly agricultural and animal breeding state, the Kayin State Government is shouldering the tasks such as that of the reclamation of new cultivation lands; that of providing adequate water supply; that of preventing flood; that of the repair of sluice gates; and that of repairing the dams and reservoirs. Moreover, considering all round development of the environment and the people, the dams are being taken care of; and that (406) tasks are being handled and benefited (78,425) acres.
Power supply sector
With the use of national power grid, in addition to the solar power system, and the diesel fuel system, Kayin State Government is supplying power.
Out of (2,097) villages, a total of (1,071) villages covering (308,041) households have been provided with electricity during four years period. It accounted for (51) percent of the entire Kayin State. In Kayin State, with different voltage of KV, the electricity is distributed over the different overhead lines to different distances.
Power supply with 230 KV being received from the Mawlamyine – Myawady electric power line, beginning 19 March 2019, the electricity is distributed to surrounding villages of Kawkareik; to some wards of Myawady Town and villages; to Kyain Seikgyi Town and villages.
More projects are ongoing in Kayin State for the distribution of electricity in many areas especially Pine Kyone Town and Maie Lan Village and surrounding areas by implementing power supply line connections and power substation construction.
Furthermore, the electricity has been supplied to Bawgali Town and surrounding villages; Hline Bwe and surrounding villages; to Pine Kyone Town and surrounding villages; and to Myine Gyi Ngu area and surrounding villages. Distribution of power supply have been successfully carried out for Kan Nee Village and surrounding villages of Hlaingbwe Township; for Ka Mar Maung Town and surrounding villages; and for Late Tho Town and surrounding villages.
Interestingly, with the arrangement of private sector initiative, (150) households in Anan Kwin Village and about (2,500) households of (17) villages centering Ta Gun Daing Village have been enjoying electricity through the use of solar system and diesel fuel system of generating electricity in Kya-in-Seikgyi Township.
Urban areas beautifying works
The main purpose of urban beautification has always been the improvement of people’s life level. During four years period, the night market on Strand Road of Hpa-an Town has been realized; and that the “Aung San Town Hall” in Hlaingbwe Township; “Zar Mi Town Hall” in Kya-in-Seikgyi Township and the “Pa Thi Town Hall” in Thandaunggyi Township have been renovated.
People’s Centred works carried out
During the four years period, the development tasks for the community with the notion of “People’s Centred Concept” have been carried out by the Kayin State Government. As a result, the project funds MMK (10,159) millions have been spent in Kyain Seikgyi Township for (50) villages that covers roads, bridges, water supply, school buildings, power supply, healthcare centers, village meeting halls and other community projects.
Similarly, in Hlaingbwe Township, the projects funds have been spent amounting MMK (7,370) million for (71) villages with roads, bridges, water supply, school buildings, power supply, health care facilities, village meeting halls, and other community tasks.
Development projects have been realized in Kawkareik Township by spending MMK (5,801) millions for (53) villages on roads, bridges, water supply, school structures, electricity supply, and rural meeting halls.
For the comfort and convenience of the government employees, the staff housing construction have been realized with (71) buildings accommodating (432) rooms; with building for rental numbering (76) buildings with (142) rooms; and with pensioners’ housing numbering (3) with (48) rooms.
In creating job opportunities for the local people and those returnees from other countries, the local and foreign investors have been invited for setting up industrial zone in Kayin State.
“Fulltex Co. Ltd” of China has invested in Kayin State and that (2,177) workers have secured jobs. The factory exports garments to Hong Kong, China, Spain, and Europe, which fetched US$ (1,508,770) in 2019. Moreover, for the local consumption, SKK coloured roofing sheets producing factory has earned MMK (2) millions in 2019. Plastic items producing factory named “Kyaw 3” has generated MMK (327) millions from the sales in 2019.
Support to the Peace Organizations
In Kayin State, there are ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) namely the KNU; the DKBA; and the KNU / KNLA (PC), and that the Kayin State Government is facilitating for the peace and the local area development. In creating job opportunities with the approach of food security, the needy families of (19) peace groups have been provided during 2016 to 2020 February with (707) cattle; (2,391) goats; (1,534) pigs; (300) ducks; (115) buffalos; (10,860) local chickens; (20,000) chickens for eggs; amounting MMK (1,972) millions.The peace groups are being provided with various cash crops for cultivation on manageable scale for livelihood amounting MMK (66) millions.
In February 2020, the Kayin State Government provided the peace groups to help assist in their livelihoods such as that of the KNU / KNLA (PC) of Htee Wah Pa Law Village in Myawaddy Township led by Major Saw Kaw Lu; that of the KNU / KNLA of Hti Khine Village in Three Pagoda Town of Kya-in-Seikkyi Township led by Colonel Saw Joe Swa with paddy, corn, fruit seeds and cash MMK (270 point 8259) lakhs [Lakh is equal to one hundred thousand (100,000 )] for each group.
Moreover, in Htot Kaw Koe Naw Tayar Myine of Kawkareik Township, the peace groups KNU/KNLA (PC) have been provided with cultivation land along with cash MMK (155 point 0782) lakhs.
The abundant beauty and culture in Kayin State have attracted local and foreign tourists, and the number of visitors is rising. The tourism industry stands out as a vital livelihood of the Kayin State.
Hotels and Tourism
In the past, Kayin State has only (16) hotels, and that 2020 January statistics revealed that there are (43) hotels. Records of 2016 and 2019 showed that the tourism industry in Kayin State has jumped (169) per cent in hotel business; (34) per cent in local visitors; and (66) per cent in foreign tourists.
With a view to providing better services in the tourism industry, hotel related training courses including “Guest List Information Management System” have been imparted to (2,000) trainees through (23) events from 2016 to 2020.
Moreover, the Community-based tourism (CBT) is a form of responsible tourism that supports local communities and improves livelihoods. The CBT has been initiated in Thandaunggyi Town since 2015, and that another CBT scheme is on the agenda to open up at Munt Sa Ree Village near Hpa-an Town.
A five-day trial tour on a hot air balloon kicked off on 21 March 2019 at Thiri field in Hpa-an Township. Pleasure sightseeing through the “Hot Air Balloon Travel Plan” was put on as a pilot project in 2019 and that the regular plan will start functioning in open season of 2020.
The development of education sector is vital for the sustainable development of the Kayin Sate. Therefore, the Kayin State Government has paid attention on education sector such as that of adequate lecture halls at the universities and colleges; that of providing teaching aids; that of opening up more lectures; and that the Convocation Hall of Hpa-an University has been constructed with the capacity of (1,200) attendees which is (80) per cent completed in February 2020.
At the Hpa-an Computer University, building are constructed such as that of four storey building for officers; that of four storey building for staff members; that of university dormitory for (100) students. Moreover, at the Government Technological High School (Hpa-an) buildings are being constructed such as that of two storey RC teaching facility; that of (152 x 34) feet “Student Dormitory R.C.C. Building”; that of (192 x 38) feet RC three storey teaching facility; that of (100 x 40) feet iron-RC four stofey student dormitory building; that of (120 x 40) feet iron-RC six-rooms faculty members’ hall.
At the Government Technological High School (Thandaunggyi), construction of building are carried out such as that of (192 x 38) feet RC three storey lecture hall; that of (150 x 75) feet single-storey of “Steel Structure” two units of building for workshop; (78 X 94) feet iron-RC four storey building for faculty members.
At the Government Technological Institute (Hpa-an); construction are ongoing for (198 x 38) feet RC three storey teaching hall; (125 x 82) feet “Steel Structure” single storey workshop; (78 x 94 ) feet iron-RC four storey building for faculty members.
Basic Education Sector
In transforming better characteristics and decent image of basic education schools, budget allocations have been distributed for new schools construction with expanded students under the capital budget expenditure on (563) schools amounting MMK (34,270) millions; under the current budget expenditure on (516) schools amounting MMK (4,340) millions; on students’ adequate school tables amounting MMK (1,441) millions; on teaching aids of computers (414) pieces amounting MMK (442) millions; on library book shelves and almirah (563) units and on book trolley (1199) units amounting MMK (286) millions.
In the healthcare sector, the Medical Service Department is providing healthcare services to the public at one hospital with (200) beds; at (3) hospitals with (100) beds each; at (2) hospitals with (50) beds; at (7) hospitals with (25) beds; at (24) hospitals with (16) beds, where (16) senior physicians, (18) specialists and (187) doctors are providing professional medical healthcare for the people.
During (4) years period, additional (374) officers have been appointed, and the healthcare index is rising year by year. The Kayin State Medical Services Department has been allocated with budget amounting MMK (14,658) millions, and that MMK (2,967) millions have been spent on medicines and equipment.
During four years period, the Myawady District People’s Hospital received on unit of four storey building, while Hpa-an People’s Hospital is equipped with three units of kidney dialysis machine. More new buildings and structures have been successfully constructed, and that more facilities are on the agenda. At various healthcare facilities in Kayin State, (41) officers and (987) staff members, totaling (1,028) professionals are serving the people.
During four years period, with total budget MMK (6,732,745) millions have been spent for building and structures. Total of MMK (1,072) millions have been spent for repairing of buildings under the Public Health Department for four years period.
An international standard FDA laboratory is being built at Myawady Township by the Kayin State FDA for the safety of foods, drugs, cosmetics, and household goods for the public in accordance with the laws, by-laws, rules and regulations.
In conclusion, the Kayin State Government has implemented effective and beneficial tasks for the people within a short period of time, and that long term plans are being laid down for the sustainable development. Therefore, the expectation and aspiration of the local nationalities will begin to grow soon in the near future. Translated by UMT (Ahlon)