Myitkyina-The price of charcoal is increasing as demand increases from China.
And with that price increase, charcoal has been transported illegally from Kachin State to China for more than a month.
Over the past month, the price of a higher quality bag of charcoal has increased to 8,000 to 12,000 kyat, while lower quality bags are going for 4,000 to 5,500 kyat.
Charcoal from Kachin State and northern Sagaing Region smuggled to China along the Ayeyawady River on the Waimaw-Sadone- Kanpaiktee route.
“Big ships carrying hundreds of charcoal bags were used in exporting charcoal to China illegally,” said a local from Tarlawgyi village. These charcoal originates in Kathar and Hteegyaint in Sagaing Region.
“As there are conflicts in Kachin State, villagers couldn’t farm and so forests near the villages were cut down and transformed into charcoal. All is being exported to China and nothing is left for villagers to use.”
Officials appear to be favouring the Chinese buyers, said the source.
“The buyers are Chinese and locals are the carriers. When an arrest is made, only the villagers are detained. The authorities do nothing in handling the case. There is no difference in smuggling and transporting charcoal as the origin of charcoal is wood,” said the local.
MP Tun Shein from Bhamaw Township constituency on March 23, 2015 asked in Kachin State parliament whether it is legal to transport charcoal to foreign countries as nearly a hundred tonnes of charcoal had been transported through the border gate in Kachin State.