Residents of Hpakant are struggling with rising rice and fuel costs after regime forces blocked a key transport route into the township in Kachin State following clashes with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
A villager from Lon Khin, who requested anonymity, told KNG that the price of Aya Min and Ngwe Toe rice has increased from 70,000 kyat to 90,000 kyat and Paw San Mwe rice from 80,000 kyat to 120,000 kyat this week alone. “Traders said that no rice was delivered to Hpakant.”
Another anonymous source said the cost of fuel had increased from 3,500 kyat to 4,000 kyat a litre. “Petroleum costs 15,000 kyat per gallon and diesel costs 19,000 kyat per gallon in Hpakant.”
Another man, also requesting anonymity, said that “soldiers haven’t allowed trucks carrying fuel and rice to pass through the Nam Yar checkpoint” and they’re searching all travellers.
After the KIA attacked the Lae Pyin checkpoint outside Lon Khin and a regime camp in the village near the pagoda from 30 January to 1 February, the military tightened security in the township. On 9 February, they closed the Indawgyi – Hpakant and Mogaung – Nam Yar – Hpakant roads.
Last year, the regime also closed major transport routes in Hpakant, causing the price of rice to rise to 150,000 kyat per bag and fuel to 20,000 kyat per gallon.