Myitmakha News Agency
Mandalay, September 9 – U Toe Aung Lin, head of the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR) for Mandalay Region, has stated his department will award tender licenses to those involved in sand digging and selling enterprises along the banks of the Ayeyarwady River, which cuts through the erstwhile royal capital.
He made the statement during a press conference held in Mandalay’s Media Center on September 7.
“Local grievances concerning the sand industry haven’t been resolved. Tenders will be called and issued out in accordance with the law,” said the department head.
Bids for tender, which include permission to dig sand along the banks of the river, and are related to the payment of tax upon the volume of sand dug, can reportedly be submitted to the DWIR from the last week of this September.
Sand entrepreneurs can reportedly submit their applications for an area they desire to utilize to regional government, upon which the applications will be scrutinized by regional government, together with the Department of Water Sources and River Development, before digging permits will then be handed out.
Press conferences have been repeatedly held over instances of sand extraction activities destroying top soil, rendering land along the banks of the river no longer arable during the seasonal dry months of the year when water levels reside.
“Unfavourable problems have befallen us. If government departments concerned took action decisively, we’d no longer see any crime related activities take place in regard to the digging and selling of sand. Since our department are the ones taking responsibility for this issue, we’ll make sure to see these issues are resolved,” said U Maung Myint, chair of the Sand Entrepreneurs Association.
U Toe Aung Lin told Myitmakha News Agency he believes that the calling of tenders and official demarcation of areas for the purpose of sand extraction will resolve the current grievances felt by those within Mandalay’s sand industry.