Two important local cultural sites at Shwe Taung and Ngwe Taung villages in Mray BonTownship, Arakan State have been destroyed due to stone mining for the Site-tway portconstruction. The Shwe Taung and Ngwe Taung mountains are respected locally as ancientArakanese monuments. It is believed that these monuments were built in AD-792 by KingSaw Mwan in dedication to the Arakanese kingdom. King Saw Mwan originally built sixmonuments, four of which have since been rebuilt. Shwe Taung and Ngwe Taung werein the process of being rebuilt when the mining operation was started.
Rakhine State Chief Minister U Hla Maung Tin hired local businessman U Than ShweMaung to mine aggregates and large slabs of stone from the Shwe Taung and NgweTaung mountains. On 12 February 2012, without prior warning or consultation, U ThanShwe Maung and 20 of his employees arrived at Ngwe Taung mountain, and begandigging-up stones. It is believed that the aggregates mined from the mountain were to beused for the Site-tway port construction.
In response to the mining operation, approximately 150 local people staged a protest atthe site. The protesters state that the mountains are ancient Arakanese heritage sites.Local residents are angry because they did not give their consent for this mining operation.Residents feel that this is a disrespectful attempt to destroy their local cultural heritage.
In order to complete this work in the face of opposition from local residents, U Than ShweMaung collaborated with current Mray Bon Township Administrator Min Khine Win. Theprotesters successfully suspended the mining work for twelve days, but on 24 February2012 Mray Bon Township Administrator Min Khine Win ordered the village to end theprotest. Min Khine Win vowed that the mining would go ahead, and threatened the useof heavy machinery if the villages did not cooperate. Min Khine Win then appointed a newVillage Head, U Maung Ba Sein, to quell protests.
Kaladan Movement report - One cannot step into the same river twice: making the Kaladan Project people-centred (Page 46)