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                                      INFORMATION SHEET
                              NO.A -0272(I)	 5th January 1998
                    The Little Known Snow-Land of Myanmar
                                        (by Sai Aung Tun)
		Would any body believe that there exists a snow-land in a tropical country
like Myanmar? Well, there does. There is place in the northernmost region of
Myanmar surrounded by ranges of snow-capped mountains. If one flies from
Myitkyina, the capital of the Kachin State, for about 220 miles north, one
will come to a small town called Putao. Putao is a beautiful remote town in
northern Myanmar. Situated between 26 42 and 27 55 North Latitude and between
96 53 and 97 45 East Longitude it has an area of 2105.559 square miles and
about 1347494 acres with a population of 59565.
		The Putao Township's boundaries touch with Machambaw in the east, Sombrabum
in the South, Ta Naing in the west and India in the north. Putao is a
horseshoe shaped township with a large area of fertile plain suitable for
cultivation of various crops. It is surrounded by snowcapped ranges of
beautiful mountains from north to south. It stands at a height of 1374.4 feet
above sea level. The winter lasts longer than the summer. But sometimes it is
subject to frequent and drastic changes of weather. Rainfall varies from 127
 .32 to '84.7 .7 and the warmest period is from June to August with a
temperature of about 36.8 C. The coldest period starts from November and lasts
until February with a temperature of 03.8 Centigrade. The 
national races, who live together harmoniously in the place are, Ra Wan, Lisu,
Tai Hkamti, Jingh-paw, Myanmar, Chinese, Lahu, Kayin, Indian and Rakhine.
Freedom of worships is guaranteed to all these nationalities and there are
those who embrace Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and even animism.
		Legends have it that Putao was established by an old pious Hkamti Shan
called Pu Taung. He led the Tai ethnic group to settle in this area and
establish a village named after him. As non-Hkamti people could not pronounce
it properly it came to be known as Putao for the British and Pu-Tar-O for the
Myanmar. In days gone by the whole of this region was known as Hkamti Long
which is also a Hkamti Shan word which literally means "Great Place of Gold".
"Hkam" is gold "Ti" is place and "Long" is great.
		Putao is also well-known for its old for which was built under British rule.
When the Khamti Long area was brought under British administration, a Mr. W.A.
Hertz was assigned to Putao as the first Resident of the British Government.
The fort was named "Fort Hertz" in his honour. The construction of the fort
started from the base of a mountain range on the north side of Putao and
stretched up along the upward slope to the highest point of the range. If a
visitor standing on the summit looks down at the base of the fort, he will see
a vast area of cultivated paddy fields and number of creeks, streams and
rivulets zizagging across the fertile plain and finally merging into a big
river called Nam Kiao. At the site of the fort one can still see some vestiges
of the past such as an old military barracks, some rusty armouries, and an old
bungalow. But now the place has been taken over by the government for the
Myanmar Police Force of Putao township. Around the fort has now sprung up many
new buildings, housing various government department as Putao has now become
the capital of the region. The Hkamti Long area is very rich in natural
resources both under and above ground. These resources are still waiting to be
		The Government has now launched a programme of all-round development for the
people of this region. New roads are being constructed and old ones repaired
for better communication with the neighbouring townships. To upgrade the
educational standard of the national races of this area, the Ministry of
Education has opened 89 schools, two High Schools, five Middle Schools and
eighty two primary schools. Two hospitals have been built to meet the health
needs of the people, one in Putao itself and the other in Mulashidee. Eleven
dispensaries have been established in various villages nearby Putao.
Cultivable lands are being expanded and Paddy cultivation is encouraged to
meet the needs of the growing population. A fund and loan programme to help
the farmers has also been introduced by the government. Agricultural and farm
equipment and tractors of different sizes have also been provided to help
boost the production of paddy. The gradual introduction of mechanized farming
methods is also being undertaken to help promote better yields of crops.
Poultry farming is being promoted and citrus farming has been expanded rapidly
not only to meet the demands of the consumers in the region but also of the
people in all parts of Myanmar. New dams and irrigation canals have been
constructed to conserve the water that might be needed for cultivation in the
new areas.
		 At the moment Putao is accessible only by air and for better landing
facilities the air field is being extended and a new terminal has been built
to meet the growing number of air travellers. A motor road connects Myitkyina
and Putao, but it will have to be carefully maintained to withstand frequent
landslides and erosion caused by heavy rains.
		However, there will soon come a time when tourists and visitors will be able
to go to Putao for recreation and to gaze at the ever green forests of the
area and the stunning beauty of the snowcapped mountains. These snow-white
peaks with vast potentials are there, waiting to welcome the investors who
will be able to turn this little-known snow-land of Myanmar into a well-known
winter resort in the chain of eco-tourist attractions stretching across the