Kayah State has the potential for extensive development in the hotels and tourism sector because of the beautiful and green forests, spectacular mountain views, gorgeous rivers, and abundant waterfalls.
U L Phaung Sho, Chief Minister of Kayah State
- BY SHIN MIN
PHOTO: AYE THAN
Kayah State, also known as Kandayawady and the land of silver mountain, is home to the Kayah, Kayan (Padaung), Yinbaw, Geko, Lahta (Zayein), Kayaw, Geba, Yantale, and the Kawyawmonu (Manumanaw) ethnic races who share the land with the Bamar, Kayin, Shan, PaO and Intha ethnic races.
Kayah State has springs, waterfalls, natural caves, and picturesque scenery. It also has the Sinpyu Mountain, Hoya, Biya Region’s viewpoints from high altitude that offers a view of the mist and clouds enveloping the mountain edges. The lush forests surrounding the land is also a heritage bestowed by nature.
Kayah State has a total area of 4,529.563 square miles and measures 102 miles from north to south and 70 miles from east to west. The 2014 Census shows 286,627 people make up the state’s population. There are two districts, seven townships and three cities in Kayah State.
In the three years of Kayah State government’s administration, they have managed to upgrade the Loikaw-Meisei road, the lifeblood of the state, to a concrete road that reaches to the border with Thailand. This has resulted in the villages along the road to develop as well.
The development of transportation has contributed to the rise of local residents’ socioeconomic livelihoods, and this is why the state government prioritizes the transportation sector.
During the three years the Kayah State Government has held office, they have managed to completely upgrade 551 miles and 4.4 furlong of roads in the state. The bridges have also been upgraded to steel reinforced concrete bridges. To accomplish this, the State Government has spent K9,559.658 million from the Union fund and K39,004.216 million from the state fund.
The Kayah State government strives for uniform urban and rural development. They have used K5,943.4 million for 167 road projects, 24 bridges, 181 water supply projects, 250 buildings, 19 toilets, 54 fencing projects and one other project in 462 villages.
The Kayah State government also opened 31 types of vocational training courses and trained 5,992 students. They also provided a total of K3,116.23 million in Mya Sein Yaung funds for agriculturalists and buyers of 6,731 households in 3 wards of 122 villages in the state.
In line with the road upgrades, the state government also carries out upgrades for electrification. Out of the 517 villages in Kayah State, the state government used the budget from October to September of the 2018-2019 financial year to provide electricity to 392 villages.
Currently, 51,788 households out of 57,274 households in the state are now receiving electricity as of January 2019, meaning 90.42 per cent of them are electrified.
Five electric substations were constructed during the state government’s tenure resulting in 14 villages receiving electricity in 2016, 11 in 2017, 11 in 2018 and 13 in 2019.
The improvements made to transportation and electrification have also developed the hotels and tourism sector. The capital of Loikaw now has 23 hotels, motels and inns with a combined 495 rooms. From 2016 to February 2019, 25,549 foreign tourists and 123,661 domestic tourists have visited Kayah State. The tourism sector has generated US$231,127 million and K3,278.5 million with the number of tourists rising every year.
Motorboats along the winding Balu Creek have been arranged for foreign and domestic tourists visiting Kayah State. The state government has also collaborated with businesses to offer canoeing and kayaking experiences at the confluence of the Htoo Creek and Pun Creek for the adventurous tourists.
Community-based tourism has been set up in Pan Pat village and Tanee Lar Le village in Dimawhso Township and will be implemented in Dawtama Gti village of Dimawhso Township and Htayko village of Prusho Township in the near future.
Major attractions of Kayah State include Taungkwel Pagoda, Ngwe Taung Dam, Htee Pwint Lake, Kan Kunat Sint, Kyat Cave, Htee Sel Kha waterfall, and Kwaing Ngan spring water. The Directorate of Hotels and Tourism has also listed the Htee Parunu natural cave in Prusho Township, Ye Ni Pauk cave in Bawlake Township, Tananlaw cave in Pasawng Township and Loinanpha mountain in Dimawhso Township as tourist destinations.
Kayah State Chief Minister U L Phaung Sho said Kayah State has the potential for extensive development in the hotels and tourism sector because of the beautiful and green forests, spectacular mountain views, gorgeous rivers, and abundant waterfalls. He said this is why the hotels and tourism sector should without a doubt be given the first priority in development. He added that the state government is working to upgrade the BP 13 border entry with Thailand to an international checkpoint.
The Myanmar-Thailand border trade camp in Meisei Township generated US$ 0.447 million in 2016-2017, US$ 0.957 million in 2017-2018, and US$ 1.497 million in 2018-2019, resulting in a total of US$ 2.901 million generated from border trade over the course of three years. To encourage free trade among local residents and to aid local ethnic businesses who are unable to establish a company conduct trade, the border trade camp has issued 44 individual trade cards (ITC). Additionally, the Meisei border trade camp has generated K102.9 million in 2017-2018 and 116.4 million in 2018-2019 for a total of K266.7 million in border trade in two years.
Myanmar and Thailand have signed a sister city agreement to link the Kayah state’s capital of Loikaw with Thai province of Mae Hong Son for closer cooperation, said the State Chief Minister. He said this agreement has opened up the stifled Kayah State as 30 per cent of prospective investors entered the economy after holding a forum in the State Hall.
To attract more investors and businesses into Kayah State, the state government and the state investment commission jointly organized the publication of the report on state investment opportunity in March 2018.
The Kayah State Investment Forum was successfully held in Loikaw’s State Hall on 26 March 2018. The state government has managed to increase the number of established companies in the region from 95 to 179 in the three years they have taken up office.
Farmers in Kayah State mainly cultivate rice, corn, peanuts, sesame, sunflower, green grams, pigeon peas, black grams, sugar cane and bamboo. In 2018-2019, farmers managed to cultivate 188,597 acres of the 189,500 appropriated acres or 99.52 per cent of the estimated numbers.
In 2017-2018, they managed to cultivate 64.42 acres of industrial farmland and 248 acres of vacant, fallow and high grounds. The Kayah State Government opened laboratories for evaluating the quality of crop seeds, land use and crop protection on 23 January 2018.
Kayah State has the 500-bed Loikaw General Hospital, the 50-bed Bawlake District Hospital, five 25-bed township hospitals, ten 16-bed station hospitals, seven station healthcare departments, twenty-one rural health departments, and 116 sub departments for rural health. The state employs 79 doctors including specialists, 375 nurses and 396 other staff. The state employed 93 new staff over the three-year administration, resulting in 943 total staff providing healthcare in Kayah State.
Over the three years of the incumbent Kayah State government, there has been 70,387 inpatients, 405,361 outpatients, 6,540 minor surgeries and 7,648 major surgeries performed. The Loikaw General Hospital has added 3 new hemodialysis machine and provided blood purification services to patients 3,903 times. The state government has spent K842.107 million in healthcare in its three years in office and K4,068 million for constructing hospitals and other related buildings.
There are currently 73,772 students taught by 3,840 teachers in 454 basic education schools in Kayah State. The state government has employed 310 additional teachers in its three-year period with students increased by 2,311.
The state government used funds from the Union budget to construct 139 new schools, used normal funds to construct 36 new schools, and maintenance funds to repair 132 schools.
The state government partnered with UNICEF to produce textbooks in Burmese and the local ethnic languages for G-1, G-2 and G-3. They managed to teach in Kayah, Kayaw, Kayan, Geba and Shan ethnic languages.
In addition, they opened the Loikaw University, Technological University, Computer University, University of Education, Government Technical Institute, Nursing University, and Border and Ethnic Race University 2.
Results of reforms
In the current Kayah State government’s three years in office, they have issued 8,420 Farmland Permit (Form-7) for 18,082 acres belonging to 6,448 farmers of 85 villages in the state. The state government has returned 183.28 acres of the 341.50 acres of relinquished confiscated farmland to 95 farmers between 2016 to 1 April this year.
The state government has handed out a total of K1,45.21 million as compensation to 8 farmers for their combined 41.866 acres of farmland. From 2016 to February 2019, the state government has issued 2,634 land-grants throughout the entire state.
Loikaw hosted a peace talk with youths for State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 29 December 2017. It hosted the meeting between the Peace Commission and the KNPP on 26 and 27 April 2018 to discuss signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. Furthermore, President U Win Myint delivered a speech at the 67th Kayah State Day which fell on 15 January 2019.
The state government arranged for the return of people who left for abroad for various reasons and welcomed them at the Myanmar-Thai border. They welcomed 19 people on 7 May 2018 and 59 people on 21 February 2019. A committee for resettlement was also formed to systematically support the returnees on their way back home.
The state government has donated directly or organized donations for various causes in their three-year period. K295.56 million was donated to orphan and youth protection sanctuaries and homes for the aged. K50.9 million was donated for 509 peoples living with disabilities. And K21.8 million was donated for 109 victims of landmines.
The Kayah State government has facilitated the development of the state from a landlocked underdeveloped region to a growing economy and society. The government will continue to work for the good of its citizens.
(Translated by Pen Dali)