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State counsellor urges people to make demands of their chief ministers

Patience, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi urged yesterday while speaking to residents of Pakokku township in Magwe Region.

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to residents of San Pya Gyi village in Pakokku township, Magwe Region yesterday. Photo - EPA

The tremendous amount of public goodwill and trust engendered by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi bought the government some leeway initially. But it has started to wear off and the grumbling has begun as the public encounters a lagging political process that was never prepared to meet the ballooning expectations it was confronted with.

Nevertheless, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi reminded the Pakokku reisdents yesterday that her administration is still less than a year old and working through some growing pains.

“People should say what that they need to say and should do what they have to do. However, they should also be patient when they need to be patient,” she said.

She introduced local residents to the ministers and chief ministers accompanying her yesterday. Four ministers, with health, agriculture, social welfare and education portfolios attended, along with Magwe Region Chief Minister U Aung Moe Nyo, and Mandalay Region Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung.

“The chief minister is your main person point person in the government,” she said. “[You] have the right to ask for services from [your chief minister].”

If people do not ask for what they want, then how can the chief minister serve them? She asked.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said her cabinet will try its best to ensure that the people who voted it into power will be satisfied.

“We never told the people that we could do everything,” she warned. “We have said repeatedly that things will get done successfully only with the cooperation and participation of the public,” said the state counselor.

By Ei Ei Toe Lwin, Nay Aung   |   Thursday, 26 January 2017

Credit : Myanmar Times

 
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Team to investigate contractors as Shwedagon to undergo repairs

Refurbishment of Shwedagon Pagoda, normally done every four years, is to start in early 2017, at least a year before it was initially scheduled, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture has announced. The ministry is to set up a committee of goldsmiths to look into claims that some of the gold plates used to sheath the iconic stupa during the last renovation were of poor quality, leading to their premature deterioration.

Religious affairs minister Thura U Aung Ko has summoned the newly constitited board of trustees of the pagoda and gold experts to a meeting later this month to discuss possible action to be taken against contractors who may have supplied defective materials. The contractors who were involved in supplying the materials have not yet been identified or publicly named.

“An expert committee will look into the situation and ask contractors about possible damage to the gold plating. Once the committee has been formed and the examination has taken place, we can determine what, if any, action should be taken, ministry director U Aung San Win told The Myanmar Times.

The 100-year-old gold plates at the very summit of Shwedagon, each about one inch square, are of the purest gold and are not thought to have suffered damage from the weather. Each weighs six ticals (one tical equals 0.576 ounces) and is polished to the greatest possible smoothness.

However, the larger plates further down are of lower and varying quality, resulting in differences in weight, colour and appearance. Some of these have reportedly suffered damage, including scratches caused by birds snatching insects off the surface. The ministry’s team will review if the degradation of the plates has occurred more rapidly than anticipated because of faulty materials.

During repairs next year, the government says it intends to improve and regulate the quality of the gold plating on the entirety of the Shwedagon Pagoda stupa, the country’s pre-eminent religious site and one of its major tourist destinations, as well as a pilgrimage site for millions of Myanmar and foreign Buddhists.

“We never consulted experts on this before, so it’s time to establish a committee,” said U Aung San Win.

The last full resurfacing was completed in 2014, with some plates redone in March and April 2015. The next full-scale renovation work was not due until the end of 2018. But the government has decided to carry out the work next year, alongside an inspection of the gold plating, at a cost of about K4 million. Minister Thura U Aung Ko announced the move on his social media account.

By Aung Kyaw Min   |   Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Credit : Myanmar Times

 
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K240 million pillar upgrade to resume at U Bein Bridge

Repair work on Mandalay’s U Bein Bridge will resume this month, officials say. The K240 million-plus renovation is being carried out by a donor, said U Nyo Myint Tun, director of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum (Mandalay).

Millions have been spent on upkeep of the iconic 165-year-old teak bridge. Photo: Phyo Wai Kyaw / The Myanmar Times

The 165-year-old famous bridge, a noted tourist attraction in Amarapura township, has required tens of millions in repairs over the past few years. Last August, it was closed as floodwaters in the Taungthaman Lake which it spans made it impassable.

Last March, Myanmar Teakwood company began reparing rotting pillars and florring, paying for the renovation and providing the teak.

Though 280 pillars have already been replaced, a further 350 to 400 have to be installed to fill gaps, said U Soe Win chair of Taungthaman Boat Association, last month.

Tradition has it that the eight-mile long bridge was built by the then-mayor of Mandalay, U Bein, in the era of the Bagan kings, using wood and old pillars from the Inwa Palace in accordance with ancient methods of scaling and measuring, in 482 compartments. It was completed in 1851. More than K22 million has been spent on bridge upkeep since 2005.

“Now the company will carry out the necessary repairs ... They will provide the pillars. We have consulted with the Myanmar Architects’ Council, the archaeological department and the regional government,” U Nyo Myint Tun said.

The work will begin after getting advice from the architects, including German specialists.

Translation by Khine Thazin Han

By Phyo Wai Kyaw   |   Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Credit : Myanmar Times

 

 
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