By Yamanya and Nanda Win
Dotted with natural wonders such as Inle Lake, Goteik viaduct, Pintaya cave, Mwetawkakku pagoda, Htantsan cave, Phaungdaw-U pagoda and Mongshu, a source of Myanmar ruby, sapphire and gems, Shan State is one of local and international tourist destinations.
With a total population of over 5.8 million, Shan State is home to various national races namaly Shan, Danu, Intha, Palaung, Padaung, Pa-O, Kokang, Wa, Kachin, Bamar, Ahkhar, Lahu, Lisu and others. And its area is 61,000 square miles.
Shan State is constituted with one self-administered region, four self-administered zones, 13 districts and 55 townships.
The authorities concerned of Shan State government have been able to serve the interest of regional residents with sweeping reforms in various spheres during one-year period of the new administration.
With a view to ensuring the improvement of socio-economic status of local residents, peace and stability in the region and rule of law and multi-sector development, the Shan State government had made relentless efforts for agricultural development, construction of bridges in both urban and rural regions, ensuring power supply and development of education, health and tourism sectors.
There are the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (CSS/SSA) and Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) that signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement-NCA in Shan State and five national race armed groups that did not sign the NCA. The Tatmadaw in cooperation with Myanmar Police Force-MPF are engaged in ensuring security and rule of law in the state under the supervision of the state government.
The Joint Monitoring Committee for Shan State held three rounds of its meeting on 27 January, 29-30 June and 4 November, and had been able to touch upon matters presented by both the Tatmadaw and armed groups.
The first Union Peace Conference—21st Century Panglong was successfully held after the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement-NCA. Under the agreement reached in the first Union Peace Conference, the National Level Political Dialogues for respective Ethnics are being held across the nation, and the National Level Political Dialogue for Pa-O Ethnics was successfully held in Hopong, Shan State from 16 to 20 February. Those present at the political dialogues focused on matters related to democratic federalism, ethnic rights, social, economic, land and environment issues, and their discussions contributed much to the emergence of a democratic federal Union.
Destruction of poppy fields
Altogether 8175.37 acres of poppy fields were destroyed in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, and measures are being taken to continue to destroy the remaining poppy fields in Shan State. The state was dotted with rubber, apple, orange, tea, grape, grapefruit and others.
Production of quality species and seeds
In order for the development of agricultural sector in Shan State, the Agriculture Department produced quality species and seeds of various crops such as paddy, maize, sunflowers, legume, etc. in the 2016-2017 fiscal year and those quality seeds were grown on over 2,000 acres of cultivable land.
Apart from the project, highland reclamation projects were initiated, reclaiming 600 acres in Hopong, Kengtung and Kutkai townships to ensure that local farmers could generate extra incomes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, and more 800 acres are projected to be reclaimed in the coming fiscal year.
In the time of the new government, the amount of agricultural subsidies has been increased to K 150,000 per acre from K 100,000, and a ten-member loan disbursement group has been transformed into a three-member one to ensure the smooth and swift disbursement.
As regards loans disbursement, the Myanmar Agriculture Development Bank disbursed K 22,412.08 million to 38,399 farmers from 448 village-tracts in 47 townships in the state.
In accordance with the 2012 Farmland Law, Bylaws, altogether 383,842 holding blocks of 298,160 farmers were granted land certificates (Form-7) to engage in agriculture for generations, and 24,192 land certificates (Form-105) have been granted in the time of the new government in accordance with the Farmland Law and Bylaws for land ownership. Meanwhile, collection of land utilization premium according to types of land being practiced in the past under the Notification on Royalty Fees was annulled in the time of the new government.
4364 village grants
Under the village-land rent grant plan, a total of 43,64 village grants were given to 47 villages in 47 townships in the 2016-2017 fiscal year by the Shan State General Administration Department.
300-acre commercial plantations
Under the plan on ensuring reforestation in the forest sector in the time of the new government, Shan State was engaged in the growing of 300 acres of commercial plantations, 400 acres of watershed plantations, 860 acres of value-added natural forest plantations, numbering 1560 acres with the use of funds to the value of K 67.014 million. And 90 per cent of the plantations are thriving.
Emerald green (meat sector) livestock villages
As focus is being placed on the development of meat sector for ensuring food security in Shan State in the time of the new government, distribution of livestock with the establishment of emerald green (meat sector) livestock villages, dairy cows under the school milk programme and quality livestock through the livestock breeding bank is being made with the intention of creating jobs and ensuring development of manageable-scale livestock breeding under the rural development and poverty alleviation plan. Livestock each to the value of K 30 million were distributed to Nyaungshwe, Pinlaung, Loikaw, Loilem Lashio,Nankham and Tachilek townships in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
In order to fulfill the shelter needs of low-income families including government employees, the Urban and Housing Development Department is undertaking low-cost and reasonable housing projects. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the department has been able to settle 119 households of three categories at six building of five-storey four-room by a vote.
The Shan State Development Affairs Department is in the building of roads, bridges and water supply facilities in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, spending K 12102.862 million. So far, 326 roads of various types with a length of 47 miles and 5.132 furlongs have been constructed. Furthermore, altogether 171 bridges were constructed in 42 townships and 72 water supply facilities were implemented in 21 townships.
In the time of the new government, the Road Department is engaged in upgrading of various roads in Shan State, such as tarring, graveling, extending, leveling, etc to meet with the set standard, spending funds amounting K 45045.402 million. In the meantime, altogether 273 bridges on 13 roads were upgraded and seven road/bridge gates worth less than K 30 million were eased while projecting to upgrade all roads in the state into the one of ASEAN Class III.
The Rural Development Department is engaged in roads and bridge building, water supply and electrification for the improvement of rural socio-economic status. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the department implemented 111 tarred roads, gravel roads, earth roads with the use of allocated funds of K 8858.674 million and 164 concrete bridges, wooden bridges and others with allocated funds of K 1828.03 million.
In the water supply sector, it implemented ten narrow wells, 27 deep wells, six manual wells, 19 earthen water tanks, 204 stream water fetching systems and 58 others with the use of funds to the value of K 5028.621 million.
When it comes to rural electrification tasks, 40,141 sets of solar panel are being facilitated in Shan State whereas the respective committees formed with a view to improving socioeconomic status of the rural people have been implementing the emerald green project in 603 villages in Shan State in the 2016-2017 fiscal year through a loan.
In an effort to ensure better electricity distribution to the people, the 61.93-mile long 11KV transmission line, 66.59-mile long 400 voltage transmission line and the 66 transformers were constructed by spending K 18,168.758 million funds of allocated by the Shan State government in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Altogether 66,382 power consumers from 24,552 families of 23,430 households in 174 villages in Shan State have been supplied with electricity.
Trade volume to over US$ 4,294 million
As to trade sector, Myanmar’s export volume through Muse 105-mile trade zone stood at US$ 2,674.685 million and import volume amounted to US$ 1,389.062 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. So, Myanmar’s total trade volume hit US$ 4,294.696 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
In a similar manner, Tachileik trade centre saw a total trade volume of US$ 70.819 million—commodities worth US$ 13.340 million exported to Thailand and US$ 57.479 million worth imported goods in the same fiscal year. And Chinshwehaw trade centre saw US$ 534.734 million— US$ 483.021 million worth of goods exported to China and goods worth US$ 51.713 million were imported from China in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. So, total trade volume between Myanmar and China through Chinshwehaw trade centre was US$ 534.734 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
In a bid to attract more investment at home and abroad, Shan State Investment Fair was held at the Royal Taunggyi Hotel on 10 February this year. 21 booths displayed their products at the fair and the departmental officials, officials from the embassies and international organizations and the entrepreneurs attended the event.
Promotion of tourism industry
In an attempt to promote tourism industry in Shan State, the local government made necessary preparations to operate direct flights from Lanchang, Yunnan Province in China to Heho and from Chiang Rai of Thailand to Heho.
Shan State government issued 288 hotel/guesthouse licenses, 80 licenses for tour operation, 1,669 transportation licenses (car/boat) and 1,165 tour guide licenses to the applicants in the financial year 2016-2017. With the aim of improving human resources in hotel and tourism sector, vocational training courses were given to 1855 trainees. The community-based tourism pilot project (CBT Pilot Project) was initiated at four villages where Pa-O ethnic people reside in Southern Shan State. The project created job opportunities for 50 youths from those villages.
The CBT Pilot Project was awarded a prize at ASEAN Tourism Forum held in Singapore and a winner award at ITB Tourism Trade Fair in Berlin, Germany. The project will be implemented in four villages residing Danu and Palaung ethnic people in Pindaya Region. Two community-based tourism pilot projects are being implemented in Sagarinn Village, south of Inle Lake.
Conservation of Inle Lake
Sustainable development of water resources of Inle Lake is being conserved in a systematic manner by the local government. Shan State government purchased a dredger at a cost of K 1 billion to be able to preserve natural beauty and ecosystem of the Inle Lake in cooperation with respective departments.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises
The Department of Small and Medium Enterprises Development conducted short-term courses that enables livelihood of the businessmen for 33 times and the 130 entrepreneurs was allowed to register for 13 types of small and medium-scale enterprises in 2016-2017 FY. The Consumer Affairs Department disseminated knowledge about consumer affairs to 154,342 people in 27 townships in Shan State in 2016-2017 FY.
Over 15,800 basic education schools
During one-year period of the new government, Shan State government has been able to open 15,844 basis education schools. As literacy rate in Shan State is 64.4 per cent, literacy activities were carried out in nine townships, commencing 12 January this year. Altogether 2,685 teachers taught to 16,972 illiterates and plan is underway to raise reading habit and to conduct vocational training courses.
Improvement of healthcare services
The Shan State government built 25 healthcare facilities with the appointment of over 2,000 nurses and midwives in 2016-2017 FY. The 2,212 times of free healthcare services were given to over 80,000 ethnic people. The Shan State government placed emphasis on facilitating healthcare standard of the people, opening reception centers at Sao San Htun Hospital and Women and Children’s Hospital in Taunggyi and 200-bed hospital in Loilem.
A Cobalt 60 machine was installed at x-ray department of Sao San Htun Hospital and the local people in Shan State received healthcare services with the use of MRI 1.5 Tesla (GE-SignaExplorel) starting from last June. Kidney cleansing treatment was given to the kidney patients as a HD machine has been already installed at aforementioned hospital since May last year. A CT machine was installed at 200-bed hospital in Loilem. To commemorate tobacco free zones in Shan State, the Sports and Physical Education Department and Department of Public health jointly organized mass bike ride and mini-marathon in six townships under the leadership of Shan State government.
Social welfare sector
The Department of Social Welfare provided philanthropic centers for the youths, homes-for-the-aged and self-reliance kindergartens with K 256.79 million in 2016-2017 FY, increasing to 3.3 times when compared to that in the similar period of last year. The department also contributed K 15,000 per month to the population aged 90 and above and K 20,000 to the elders above 100 years old in the fiscal year 2016-2017.
In an effort to introduce the Early Childhood Intervention, the department is planning to supply K 180,000 per year to the pregnant women in 2017-2018 FY as 1000-day pilot project. The elders aged 90 years and above are expected to be provided with K 120,000 per year in coming 2017-2018 fiscal year as second phase of social protection scheme.
Since taking office, the new government has been making all-out efforts for development of political, economic and social sectors in Shan State and arrangements are being made to improve socioeconomic status of the local people. So, it is safe to say that with its natural beauties such as mountain ranges, tourist destinations, natural scenes plus traditional culture and dance, local food and customs, Shan State is now fully enjoying fruits of development in various spheres.