Monday, 24 February 2014

MP calls for parliamentary action on illegal timber extraction in Kachin State

NAY PYI TAW—Upper House MP San Pyae (Moekaung) has criticised armed groups and departmental officials for the transport of illegally extracted timber from Kachin State to China.

“I will submit a proposal to the Union Assembly (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw) parliament so we can hold discussions about how to handle the issue of illegal timber extraction and export to China,” San Pyae told The Daily Eleven.

The Upper House MP added that he saw the Tatmadaw (army) arresting 33 smugglers and nine trucks carrying timber while he was on a humanitarian aid visit to IDPs in Bhamo, Kachin State on February 14.

“I had first-hand experience of the arrest of the timber smugglers by the army. All nine trucks were made in China. Eight cars were fully loaded with logs. The road I saw leads to China. The KIA usually gives protection to the smugglers. The timber on the east bank of the Ayeyawady River is almost gone. The governments of Kachin State, Mandalay Region and Sagaing Region should negotiate with the Ministry of Forests so as to deal with timber smuggling. It is not easy for the army itself to control timber smuggling, but the concerned ministry and the government authorities can do it.”

Win Myint, director of the forest department in Bhamo District, told The Daily Eleven on Thursday (February 20) that timber has almost run out in Kachin State.

“If the illegal routes from other regions are closed, timber smuggling will come to a stop. Chinese people are also apparently involved in the timber smuggling, but no evidence has been made available to me. I knew only when San Pyae told me about it,” said Win Myint.

“The army had already informed us about some 1,500 tons of timber in Jarinyan. Some timber had been confiscated by the army. The places of illegal timber extraction are not accessible to us because there is no rule of law. Hsinbo and Shweku, on the west bank of the Ayeyawady River, are not easily accessible.”

source: Eleven Myanmar
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