Thursday, July 25, 2024

Shan Market Vendors May Lose Out if TNLA-Backed “Chinese New City’ Project Revamps the Old Market

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In Namkham town in northern Shan State, under the control of the Ta’ang (Palaung) National Liberation Army (TNLA), a ‘Chinese New City’ project for building new market is currently under development.

A market stall owner informed Shan Herald that construction for a market revamping project in Aung Myittar ward is underway.

The project’s description on the vinyls, written in Chinese characters, translates to ‘Chinese New City.’ However, the exact starting date of the project remains unclear. There are also reports indicating that Chinese companies have already leased space to open shops once the new market launches.

Many of the existing stall holders are extremely worried by these developments that are being rushed through without prior consultation of local people.

On June 13, TNLA convened a meeting and announced its decision to construct a new market. However, there was no consultation with the shop owners and stall operators currently using the existing market space.

During the civilian led Aung San Suu Kyi government, there was a plan to rebuild and modernize the Namkham no. 2 market on a large scale as a Chinese project. However, it did not proceed due to objections from locals.

A shop owner expressed frustration, stating that TNLA’s explanations were overly complex and difficult to grasp. She only understood that after the market was renovated and reopened, existing shop owners would be required to pay a steep price to reclaim their own spaces.

There were speculations that the plan includes renting the shop spaces in the new market at an annual fee of hundreds of thousands of Chinese yuan.

A source close to the project informed Shan Herald that TNLA has pre-negotiated agreements with Chinese individuals from Kokang and Panghseng (Kyukoke), as well as entrepreneurs from mainland China, to operate shops in the new market.

Shan Herald reached out to TNLA to inquire about the construction of the new market in Namkham and the project named “Chinese New City,” but has not yet received a response.

The proposed new market will include karaoke lounges, saunas, meat stalls, vegetable stalls, and consumer goods stores.

Locals report that after reaching a ceasefire agreement with the Junta following ‘Operation 1027,’ TNLA, which controls the town, is expanding its economic operations in Namkham.

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