Friday, August 18, 2017

Stone carving workshops wait on MCDC ahead of move

Despite a jade trader offering Mandalay’s stone carving workshops a new site in Amarapura township, most workshop owners are waiting for official word from Mandalay City Development Committee before committing to the move.

On August 9 MCDC ordered the businesses to shift from the Kyauksittan area of Mandalay to a new site within one month. Owners initially resisted, saying they couldn’t afford to move.

However, only 19 of about 50 businesses in Kyauksittan have so far accepted jade trader U Soe Naing’s offer of a 1.5 acre plot in rural Amarapura township.

“Most of the 19 business owners who plan to move to the new place are not included in MCDC’s list of those who need to move,” said business owner Ko Hlaing. “If we could get an official site from MCDC it would be better so we are waiting and haven’t accepted the jade trader’s offer.”

MCDC said the workshops had to move because they are too noisy, spread dust particles into the air and block traffic. Most of them are closed, while a few are still finishing final projects.

While MCDC said they had to move by September 9, it is yet to enforce the order.

“I helped [the workers] because I heard about their difficulties finding a workplace,” U Soe Naing said on October 15. “I don’t expect anything in return. A jade market is also going to be built in the same area so the stone carvers will have the chance to expand to jade carving, and they can earn 10 times more money from jade.

“I also want stone carving workers from Myanmar to be able to compete with the Chinese businesses.”