A Mon State bridge mired in a naming debacle again has raised local ire this week amid rumors that the divisive project could be officially launched on April 9.
Officials in the state government denied the timeline, telling Mon News Agency that they have not yet received a directive to open the bridge, which would connected Mawlamyine to Chaungzone townships.
The bridge has been embroiled in a naming controversy since the government proposed dubbing it the Bogyoke Aung San Bridge. Ethnic Mon residents felt the name signified a symbolic attempt to Burmanize the state and, in response, launched a series of escalating protests.
U Wanna Kyaw, state minister for planning, finance and immigration, said that the Mon State government has not finalized any date for unveiling the bridge.
“The chief minister would inform us if the opening ceremony was really going to take place on April 9,” he said. “We have not gotten any instructions yet. We only heard about this from Facebook.”
According to posts widely shared on Facebook, the National League for Democracy had been preparing for the opening ceremony since March 31, but those plans were scrapped on April 4.
The Thanlwin (Chaungzone) Bridge, as it has been called throughout the construction process, was green lit by U Thein Sein’s administration. According to recent reports in local media, the bridge is currently around 99 percent complete.
“The state government will have to take responsibility for scheduling the opening ceremony. But as of now, we have not gotten any instructions,” said U Min Kyi Win, Mon State Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
This article first appears on Burma News International, comprised of 13 media outlets, including Mon News Agency