The Karen National Union stopped the Italian-Thai Development Company after one of its bulldozers ‘cleared’ an ancient pagoda near the Karen village of Myitta while constructing the Dawei-Kanchanaburi highway east of Dawei, Tenasserim Division.
Villagers believe the Italian-Thai Development Company bulldozer may have accidently destroyed the pagoda that was obscured by bushland. A Myitta villager reported the destruction of the pagoda to KNU officials. The KNU stopped the construction to allow them to examine the historical site.
On 27 October, a three member team led by Profession U Zaw Thu Ra, a historical researcher from the Dawei Educational College, was accompanied by local community leaders inspected the pagoda site.
Saw Keh Doh, a community leader who went with team, spoke to Karen News.
“The site is well known to villagers and is known to local people as Ko Plaw which means, ‘Pagoda field’. The villagers maintain the site but do not touch it.”
Saw Keh Doh, quoted Professor U Zaw Thu Ra as saying that the site was of significant historical interest.
“The place here could be dated back to ancient Burmese and Thai dynasties. This type of historical site can be found in several places in Tenaythanyi (Tenasserim) Division, but no one has conducted research into their preservation.”
The research team also inspected another ancient pagoda near Kler Pu, a Karen village. The site known by local people as Htee Poe Koh that translates as ‘little stream pagoda’.
Saw Ko, a community leader who also accompanied the research team told Karen News.
“Local people here believe that these pagodas were built and they really belong to the Thai people.”
The Italian-Thai Development Company is a Thai company that is developing a $60 billion mega-project in the Dawei area that includes a deep sea port, industry zone and rail and highway links connecting Dawei to Thailand.