Death Railway Road Project to Highlight Infrastructure Development


Death Railway Road Project to Highlight Infrastructure Development

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Burmese Government has announced that it will resume construction on the Death Railway Road from Thanpyuzayat to Three Pagodas Pass, which was begun by Japanese forces during World War II.

The death railway from War World II. (Credit: Australian War Memorial)

“The tools to be used for construction have already arrived in Thanpyuzayat and government officials are currently discussing the project with local ethnic armed groups,” a Railroad Official told Kaowao.

“We have started working but will soon reach the other side, which is an ethnic controlled area, but we don’t dare work on the project there without first a compromise with the ethnic armed groups.”
The road will cross ethnic areas controlled by the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Karen National Union (KNU). The Railway Department has already completed a compromise with the Mon State Government and NMSP and is currently engaged with KNU.

The proposed road extends 175 miles from Thanpyuzayat Township to Ban Pong Station in Thailand and an additional 70 miles from Thanpyuzayat to Three Pagodas Pass.

The Death Railway earned its name through its destructive history, in which mountains were destroyed, trees were cut, and over 80,000 Burmese and 10,000 allied soldiers died by way of starvation, malaria and diarrhea during construction.

According to Mon businessmen, the road project is as large as the Deep Seaport on Kalae Goad Island. In March, Mon businessmen met U Ohn Myint, the minister of Mon State, to discuss the Deep Seaport project.

Nai Soe Myint, who attended the March meetings, recounted the many infrastructure projects discussed, including the building of two road systems: Ye – Thanpyuzayat – Three Pagodas Pass and Ye – Thanpyuzayat – Kyar Inn Seikyi – Kyone Do – Kawt Kareik – Myawaddy. Furthermore, participants discussed the construction of an Economic Industrial Zone and the Death Railway Road project at Three Pagodas Pass.

Minister U Aung Min also spoke about the Death Railway Road project, an automobile road from Thanpyuzayat to Three Pagodas Pass and the Economic Industrial Zone, during the opening ceremony of KNU’s liason office in Three Pagodas Pass in July.

Moreover, President U Thein Sein mentioned the construction of the Death Railway Road and the economic industrial zone in Three Pagodas Pass during his trip to meet with the Mon Political Party in Mon State on December 15.

The Thai government has also been involved in development plans. On December 12 Thai officials scouted Three Pagodas pass and gave permission for development to legally begin.

The price of land in Three Pagodas Pass has dramatically risen because of the project. A 40 x 60 parcel of land that cost between 70.000 and 100.000 baht before the project now costs between 300.000 and 400.000 baht, according to a local source.


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