Group Urges govt to Relook Inle Lake Tender

An environmentalist group is urging the Union and Shan State governments to reinvestigate the tender agreement that allowed entrance and zone fees to be collected at Inle Lake.

‘Save the Inle Lake’ secretary-general U Khin Maung Latt said a letter requesting the reinvestigation had been sent to State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the President on Monday.

The request was also sent to the Shan State ministers in charge of natural resources and environmental conservation, and transport and communications.

“We sent the request after the Shan State chief minister failed to respond to queries by civil society groups,” he said.

On March 29, before the 2017-18 tender agreement was signed, civil society groups had asked the chief minister whether there were new regulations in the deal.

They also questioned how the K1.1 billion Inle Lake development fund collected from entrance fees under the 2016-17 tender agreement would be spent.

“The Inle Lake fund collected last year has not been spent yet,” he said.

U Khin Maung Latt said there were concerns about the new agreement, which stated that 45 percent of the zone and entrance fees collected daily would go to the state government fund and 10pc to the Inle Lake Development Committee.

“Every foreigner visiting the lake pays US$10. Half of it goes to the Inle Lake maintenance fund and the other half is reserved for the Shan State.

“As the funds are split, it will be hard to maintain Inle Lake. We also worry that this can lead to corruption,” he said.

The group was also alleging that the new agreement signed was not according to tender regulations.

The Shan government had called for bids via a closed tender after it announced regulations concerning the rights to collect entrance and zone fees at the lake.

The bidding was held at the general administrative office on March 20, and was won by U Myat Min Soe, who beat 10 other bidders with his over K3 billion bid.

According to the rules, the successful bidder must pay K50 million or provide some immovable properties as collateral. Of the tender payment, 30pc must be paid by April 30, followed by two subsequent payments in August and December.

“It is controversial, signing a deal without following tender regulations. We appeal to the government to relook this.

“There will be protests if we get no answers in two days,” he said.

U Khin Maung Latt said they might demand the government scraps entry fees to the lake, since an agreement that failed to follow regulations would not benefit the lake anyway.

Inle Lake, Myanmar’s second largest lake, is a popular tourist attraction.

Some 250,000 to 270,000 people visit the lake annually, although the exact number of visitors may differ in the records of different tourism bodies, such as the hotels and tourism ministry, tourism board, and auction contract winners.


Source: Myanmar Times

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