Putao residents can breathe a little easier after the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) announced that the motorway from Myitkyina to the remote town in northern Kachin State will reopen on 2 March for trucks carrying food.
After the highway was closed for a week as the KIA, backed by a local People’s Defence Force, fought the Burma Army in the region, the cost of rice, cooking oil, pork, chicken and fuel rose dramatically in Putao, the small town in Burma’s north westernmost state.
A lorry driver who travelled between Myitkyina and Putao before the highway was closed told KNG on condition of anonymity that he’d heard that no passenger vehicles will be allowed when it opens, which has fallen under the control of the Kachin resistance groups fighting to overthrow Burma’s military regime.
A local woman, who asked that her name not be published, said Putao had run out of petrol and much of the food shipped north from the Kachin State capital to the town had run out. What there was to buy was too expensive for most of the town’s residents. ”That’s why the road should be opened,” she explained.
The petrol stations in Putao have closed and only street stalls sell petroleum. A 300 ml bottle of petrol has gone up from 56 cents to $4.50 and in the remote villages it’s even more expensive.