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Protestors call for Paletwa to be granted ‘district’ status

Protestors take to the streets of Paletwa in Chin State on 16 January 2017 to demand administrative measures that could ease trade and commerce woes. (PHOTO DVB)

Around 80 local residents in Paletwa, a remote township in southern Chin State, held a rally yesterday, calling for the union government to upgrade the township’s administrative status to a “district”, a move they say will help ease transportation woes when dealing with official work and legal procedures.

Last year, the township authorities in Paletwa reached out to the central government with a petition, demanding an administrative upgrade to the status of district. Shortly after, dozens of Paletwa residents staged a demonstration, voicing support for the township officials’ bid.

Pyi Yo, an organiser of the protest on Monday, said the locals decided to hold another rally as they felt their voices were not being heard in Naypyidaw.

“The township administrators urged the President’s Office to facilitate the change, and they filed a petition along with it,” he said. “But we felt that this was not enough and that’s why we are holding another rally.”

Paletwa is located in a remote area, surrounded by hills and mountains. Commerce and transport in and out of the town is slow and laborious, often fraught with danger as trucks contemplate steep cliffs and muddy potholed surfaces.

Situated closer to Arakan State capital Sittwe than to Hakha, the Chin capital, Paletwa was previously an Arakanese township during British colonial rule. It became part of Chin State’s Mindat District under the U Nu government of post-independence Burma.