THURSDAY, 16 JULY 2009 08:58
Dhaka: People in Arakan State have been facing an economic crisis that has contributed to increased rates of crime, begging, and mental illness across the state, particularly in the capital Sittwe, said a woman from the city.
She said, “The rate of beggars, crimes, and lunatics are increasing day after day in Sittwe, which is the outcome of the economic crisis in our state. I have never seen many beggars on the streets of Sittwe before, but now there are many beggars in Sittwe who are roaming the town to ask for food and other assistance.”
According to a source, most poor people in Sittwe are working as rickshaw pullers but the daily earnings of rickshaw pullers is inadequate for their families’ daily survival. The rental price of a rickshaw is also 700 kyats per day in Sittwe.
“In Sittwe, the number of rickshaws is higher than the number of travelers. The rickshaw pullers have difficulty getting money from the job. Sometimes, the rickshaw pullers can not pay the rental charge to rickshaw owners as they do not have enough money from working. So the family members come out into the streets to beg for food and money,” the woman said.
The economy in Sittwe is not doing well right now and everybody is facing financial difficulty. Because of this, the rate of begging and crime have also increased in the capital.
“Most women in Sittwe now avoid walking on the street with jewelry because many robberies have taken place in Sittwe recently. In the last month alone, there were three day time robberies in Sittwe,” she added. Even though robberies are increasing in Sittwe, those who are committing the crimes have not been arrested by police and remain on the streets.
While crime and begging increase, mental illness is also increasing in Sittwe, with the majority of those afflicted being men.
U Tha Kyaw, a store owner, said, “Most of the people have lost their businesses in the Sittwe in the last two or three years. Many of them have turned to drinking alcohol after their livelihoods collapsed. They then lose their minds.”
Another source said that some youths in Sittwe are engaging in drug abuse and some are also suffering from mental illness as a result of that abuse.
In Arakan State, the economy is getting worse by the day and no one has been left unaffected. Despite this severe situation, the military government has no apparent plan to help the situation or boost the economy in the state.