Friday, August 18, 2017

Shops for Taungbyone Nat festival dismantled

Festival organisers have dismantled all shops that were set up for the annual eight-day Taungbyone Nat (Spirit Medium) festival, which was cancelled due to the H1N1 outbreak, U Khin Maung, head of Taungbyone Ferstival Organization Committee, said on Wednesday.

Owners dismantle their shops after the Taungbyone Nat festival was cancelled by authorities due to the H1N1 influenza threat. Phyo Wai Kyaw / The Myanmar TimesOwners dismantle their shops after the Taungbyone Nat festival was cancelled by authorities due to the H1N1 influenza threat. Phyo Wai Kyaw / The Myanmar Times

More than 800 shops were being dismantled and they have been preparing to leave, he said.

“About 70 percent of the shops were brought down and the dismantling work is going on. The maximum price of a shop is K200,000 and some gave advance money. Some were short of money and we had to pay them back. For other festival businesses under auction fees, we will return those auction fees,” U Khin Maung Swe told The Myanmar Times in a telephone interview.

The festival was scheduled to have started on July 31, but the regional chief minister ordered its cancellation as the country struggled to contain the deadly H1N1 influenza, which has already claimed 13 lives.

Private cars were not allowed to enter into Taungbyonegyi village and only trucks were permitted to enter to haul the vendors’ goods.

“As the festival is cancelled, we have to follow the wish of the majority. The leaders want to create best situation for everyone,” Ko Tun Myint Aung, who came from Pyawbwe to Taungbyone Nat to open a shop, said.

“But from our vendors’ point of view, we want to hold the festival under strict controls. For example, the festival will be closed if one H1N1 patient is found. If so, we would have been more grateful.”

“Now we are in big trouble. Most of us came and opened a shop here with loaned capital. Now we even find it difficult to recover our expenditure. I plan to go to a pagoda festival in Mahlaing township, but it would only start in two weeks.”

H1N1 warning pamphlets and free masks have been distributed to the crowd in Taungbyone Nat, according to Health Assistant U Kyaw Thu Oo from Mattaya township health department.

“We formed eight groups and conducted examination of the people in Taungbyone, shops and villages. If one gets fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius, medical examination is conducted. Until now, we haven’t found anyone suffering from H1N1,” U Kyaw Thu Oo said.