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New strategic railroad project in Shan State

December 10, 2009

THURSDAY, 10 DECEMBER 2009 12:53 S.H.A.N.
One of the nine new railway network projects being planned by Burma’s junta would include the Mongnai-Tachilek project, according to a veteran Burma watcher on the Thai-Burma border.

Xinhua News Agency reported Monday that the over 2,000 km long project will cost over $130 million dollars, quoting the Ministry of Rail Transportation. There were no further details.

Earlier, junta media had reported three new projects:
Estimated distance
Namzang – Hsipaw 250 km
Namzang – Kengtung 330 km
Lashio – Muse 170 km
Total 750 km

The latest one, according to both Thai and local sources, is the 350 km long Mongnai – Tachilek railroad project.

Lt-Gen Min Aung Hlaing had inspected the terrain between Tasang, the Salween crossing between Mongpan and Mongton, on 5 November during his 4 day visit to Shan State East, says a report. He also mentioned about the project during his talks with civilians in the area.

The veteran border watcher thought the logical outcome, if reports are true, would be another 160 km railroad between Tachilek and Kengtung.

“When the projects are completed, it’ll be increasingly difficult for rebels to move around without being harassed by the Burma Army,” he said.
The United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) and the non-ceasefire Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ are the main armed groups active in Shan State East.

According to the Asian Development Bank, there are two rail projects being planned for Burma:
RW1 Chiangrai – Kengtung – Dali
RW5 Myitkyina – Dali
Lashio – Dali

Shanland news

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