Min Thuta – Drivers in Mon State are facing difficulty in traveling due to the damaged highways in Mon Sate. The most damaged stretches of highway run between Thanbyuzayart and Ye, and from Tenasserim Division to Rangoon.
The Thanbyuzayart-Ye highway is the main road used to travel from Mon State to Tenasserim Division in the southern part of Burma.
“Currently, I don’t see any group repairing the road. I rarely saw any [highway workers] near Thanbyuzayart town, or between Mawkanin-Ye, in the past month. Just a little repairing is being done. It is not easy to drive in the rain,” said Ko Hla Than, a driver who frequently travels between Ye and Moulmein.
U Khin Maung Myint, Ministry of Construction, Union Minister, said concerning the condition of the Thanbyuzayart-Ye highway, “The damaged part of it has already been repaired since 2 September 2011, and the vehicles can pass smoothly.”
However, Ko Hla Than says, “Between Wekami and Mawkanin the condition of the highway is the worst. And we have to be patient on both sides of the traffic lane because we have only this way.”
Even though travelers are complaining that Mon State roads are in need of repair, Karen armed groups continue to travel in these areas.
Two highway express buses were burnt and destroyed along the mentioned section of the highway by a Karen armed group last May and June. Some bus passengers were detained by the insurgents.
On 11 June, Mon and Karen armed groups kidnapped an employee of AK Construction Company, demanding 15 million kyat for the release of the employee. AK Construction is the company that received the contract to repair the main highway from Moulmein-Ye in Mon State.
People’s Parliament member Mi Myint Than, elected from Ye Township, Mon State, of the All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMDP), said at the People’s Parliament: “We want to know where the taxes collected for the road are being used, as the roads are not being repaired.”
Following the inquiry of Mi Myint Than, U Khin Maung Myint, the Minister of Construction, replied, “The AK Construction Company has been responsible for the repair of the Moulmein-Ye-Malaw-taung motorway, about 112 miles and 6 furlongs, since 16 March 2011, following the BOT system for maintenance work of roads and the development of roads.”
The Thanbyuzayart-Ye section of the highway is 56.2 miles long and 20 feet wide. It is an asphalt road that has been established since the English colonial era.