Local villagers living near the Taungalay Mountain quarry plants to stop the quarry as they claimed it has harmed their villages and environment.
The Taungalay quarry plant is located between Upper Kawtyin village tract and Naung Kyan village tract in Hpa-an Township.
Saw Zar Li, a villager from Taungone village near the quarry plant said most villagers do not want the renewal of the permit to the business owners due on February 3, 2017.
Saw Zar Li told Karen News that dynamite explosions have caused significant destruction to the surroundings.
“I think two-fifths of the mountain have gone. There used to be a cave [that was used] as a tunnel through the mountain and villagers used it in travelling and transportation of their paddy. Now the entrance of the tunnel is closed due to explosions.”
Saw Zar Li said living near the quarry is a nightmare.
“We live near the mountain and have been terrified by the daily loud explosions all year. We’d like to see the mountain remain as naturally as it is in the future.”
To stop the negative impacts on the environment and to preserve the mountain for the future, the locals of Taungone village, who live near the area do not want the authorities to renew the permit for the Taungalay quarry.
Local villagers claim that 30 acres of farmland around the mountain had been ruined and lost due to the spillover of rock from the explosions.
Local villagers said that on February 16, after the permit expiration, villagers and village administrators of the Upper Kawtyin village tract informed the Upper Kawtyin administration office of their position [not to renew permit].
The Taungalay quarry plants have been operated by U Khin Maung Kyaw in the Eastern part of the mountain and by U Lu Khin in the Western part of the mountain.
Saw Shwe Thein, the administrator of the Upper Kawtyin village told Karen News that operations of both sites have been stopped at the moment, as the operators are seeking to renew their permits.
“It has been stopped at present. Business owners have already submitted their application to renew the permit for another one year to the respective government department. We will have to [wait and see] if there will be any of mutual benefit. The most important thing is the position of the locals.”
According to local residents, during the extracting process, villagers were subjected to two dynamite explosions each day. Villagers claim the explosions from the Eastern part are the more powerful and had resulted in houses in Taungone village to be badly shaken and the roof of the monastery was destroyed.
There are nine villages in the Upper Kawtyin village tract that are affected by the quarry. The villages include; Oat Shit Gone, Shwe Ni, Ywargalay, Panpuu, Taungalay, Kwet Thit, Ahnanbingone, Chanthargone and Kawmuthee. The nearest village to the quarry is Taungone village with over 60 households.