Water diversion for forced paddy-growing threatens farmlands

Mar 18, 2008 (DVB), Authorities in Zee Gone township, Bago division, have been forcing local bean farmers to grow summer paddy and diverting a water channel from another village to support the new crops.

Farmers from Myauk Hlwe Gone and Nyung Pin villages near Zee Gone, who usually grow beans, have been ordered to grow summer paddy by local authorities.

The authorities are now planning to block a water channel going from Myauk Hlwe Gone and Nyung Pin to another village in order to divert water for the summer paddy farming.

Now bean farmers in other nearby villagers are worried that their land may be flooded when the channel is blocked, one local bean farmer said.

"The authorities are planning to block the water channel going to farmlands in Nwar Tel Gone village in order to get water for the summer paddy that they want to grow," he said.

"But if they do that, the blockage of the water channel will cause flooding in about 200 acres of bean farms nearby, and local farmers are very frustrated by this , it seems the authorities only care about what they want and have no thought for how it will affect other bean farmers."

The farmer said the bean crops were due to be harvested in about a week, so the farmers had asked the authorities to wait until after the harvest to block the water pipe, but their request was denied.

Farmers have also complained that even though it is the local authorities who have demanded they grow summer paddy, they have not provided any of the necessary equipment and farmers are being made to buy it themselves.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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