Water project destroys farmlands

Feb 20, 2008 (DVB), Around 70 acres of farmland have been destroyed by heavy machinery used in a sluice project run by Ye Nwe hydropower department in eastern Bago division, locals said.

Bean farms located east of Nyaung Lay Pin township were damaged when heavy construction vehicles were driven over the land to get to the project site.

A Nyaung Lay Pin resident said that farmers have been badly hit by the destruction of their land.

"An acre of farmland can produce up to 20 or 30 tin [80 to 120 litres] of beans, and each tin can fetch about 20,000 kyat, so the destruction cost farmers around 400,000 to 600,000 kyat," the resident said.

"Some farmers own more than 10 acres of farmland, and I heard that one of them got hysterical because he had invested at least 150,000 kyat on each acre and it has all been destroyed."

The resident said the damage was caused because the construction vehicles took a shortcut across the farmlands rather than driving round them.

"Local farmers asked the drivers why they were cutting across the farmlands, and they said they didn't want to waste a lot of fuel," he said.

Work began on the sluice project last week, but local residents were given no advance warning.

When the locals complained to the authorities and asked for the project to be stopped, they were threatened with arrest for harassing public officials on duty.

They have not taken the case any further.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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