Local residents near Mt. Mein Balar have expressed concerns regarding the plans for the construction of a war museum to memorialize World War II, like the Hellfire pass museum in Kanchanaburi, supposedly to have treasures and items from that time. The new museum is to be built in the Mon State, not far from Thanbyuzayat.
Locals expressed concern about the project, with the people running the rubber plantations being particularly worried. They say that the construction will damage, as well as the potentially cause the old mines in the area to explode, which would result in the rubber and water sources in the area being damage.
The monks in the nearby monastery have even expressed complaints that they can’t sleep during the night, thanks to the ruckus of all the construction. Excavations with bulldozers are undergoing daily, continuing until midnight. There also happen to be yogis at the monastery, with kids in the area ending up shot by a slingshot.
A lot of the local residents believe that there are weapons and treasures from World War II buried under the old Japanese military buildings in the vicinity of Mt. Mein Balar, which was left there in part during the work on the Thai-Myanmar Death Railway.
The locals say that they’re not entirely concerned if there are treasures to be put into places like the Hellfire pass museum, the problem is that they’re kind of in the dark about the project. They want transparency, they say, they want to know about the project, what the extent of it is, who gave it the green light. They are saying that, if the State Chief Minister allowed it, the locals want to see a permit letter.
The Mon State Government’s Director U MyintThan Win says that it was the state government that gave permission for the project, to the Yangon-based Royal Eagle Development Group Co., Ltd. to handle a study on the feasibility of excavating the artifacts from the Japanese occupation era at the area surrounding Mt. Mein Balar.
The government is saying that the study is the only project allowed, saying that the company can only excavate until they find a cave entrance or wall hiding artifacts, not taking the artifacts themselves, which, according to some Japanese people still in the country, there might be weapons and treasures left behind during their retreat.