Donated fishing equipment taken back from villagers

Jul 15, 2008 (DVB), Villagers in Daydaye township, Irrawaddy division, have complained that local authorities have taken back items given to them at a public donation by the government and other private donors.

A private donor told DVB that village authorities had given fishing boats, nets and other equipment to the villagers in front of visiting senior officials but then took them back once the officials had left.

Village authorities gave speeches announcing the donation of 150 fishing boats and other items during the senior officials' visit, the donor said.

"They told the senior authorities how much the boats and fishing nets had cost, and they told them people should be grateful to the government for these supplies as they would now be able to successfully restart the local fishing industry," he said.

"But when the senior authorities had gone, the township authorities and USDA officials took all the stuff back and told the fishermen to go home and that they would get them later," he explained.

"But they never got them and they had to go home empty-handed."

Cyclone refugees in Daydaye have also been pressured to drop their demands for new housing promised to them by the local authorities while the senior officials were visiting, according to the donor.

The donor also said that local authorities had skimmed off some of the money given by private donors to help cyclone victims.

"Donors gave cash to the authorities to buy supplies for the refugees and farmers, but they only bought cheap seeds that you can't grow anything with and kept the rest of the money for themselves," he said.

"Apparently the crop seeds were wet and will never grow anything , they will only waste the farmers' time and energy."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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