Govt urged to settle land grab claims by September

Govt urged to settle land grab claims by September

The Burmese Parliament on Thursday called on relevant government bodies to implement settlement claims over land confiscation cases by September at the latest, though the number of cases remains disputed.

A copy of the report obtained by DVB shows 8,478 cases of land confiscation filed to the government, only 423 of which have been settled thus far. Cases include land seized by the military, government ministries and private companies.

Contrary to the commission’s findings, state newspaper The New Light of Myanmar reported on Friday that the government has identified just 745 incidents of land confiscation over the last five decades.

The publication said that of those 745 cases, 358 claims were disregarded because “the handover of land was carried out in accordance with the law”, this despite the government admission that of those 358 cases, compensation was only paid to five claimants.

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Lower house MP Min Thu, a member of the investigation commission, said that in many cases, the government had “resold confiscated land to private companies but still carries the responsibility for compensation”.

In addition to discrepancies over the number and legitimacy of claims, Min Thu also expressed scepticism over the government’s capacity to adequately address land issues.

“It would be impractical to assume all issues would be solved, but I would hope the farmers can enjoy at least better settlement – from previously about 10 percent of what they deserved to about 50 to 60 percent now”, Min Thu added.

The New Light of Myanmar claims that the government has closed 688 of the 745 cases, and that compensation for seized lands will be included in the 2014-2015 Union budget.

The Burmese military recently pledged the return over 150,000 acres of farmland confiscated across the country, though concessions will only be granted for lands that are currently not being used by the military.

 

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