Burmese Pagodas Damaged by Railroad Construction

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The on-going construction of the Sittwe-Amm-Minbu railroad is damaging important cultural heritage sites in Mrauk U, a well-known site of ancient pagodas and buildings in Arakan State, according to concerned local residents.

"Although we have called for an end to this project, they haven't complied,” a Mrauk U resident told The Irrawaddy. He said damage to some pagodas has been covered over with earth. The railroad construction started on Nov. 7.

The construction project has resulted in damage or destruction of ancient pagodas, stupas, walls, strongholds, religious libraries, moats, and city walls, said local sources.

"Their biggest concern is people who might take pictures or videos of this destruction," said one observer.

Local influential residents, monks and members of the public have submitted a formal request to local authorities to stop the construction, but the project has continued unabated, sources said.

On Tuesday, a letter was sent to the cultural minister with a copy to Snr-Gen Than Shwe and regional authorities, said a local monk....

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