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Footage by Pyae Phyo
More than 100 farmers in Irrawaddy division’s Henzada township say they will take legal action against a local fishery company.
The farmers claim that the firm’s operations cause extensive flooding during the monsoon season every year.
“It happens every year – we have to salvage the rice paddy and it is spoiled, so nobody will pay a decent price,” said farmer Maung Naing from Tharsi. “And because the government’s irrigation channel is blocked – all the water from the dam ends up inundating our farms.”
Myo Myint, a resident from Tharsi village-tract’s Thabawa village, said complaints previously made by the locals regarding the fisheries were ignored, in no small part due to the fact that village and township administrators in the region are also fishery operators.
“We have submitted lists every year to the township administrators detailing the destruction and the losses we have suffered, but they always deny receiving the list – this is probably because the chief township administrator himself is a fishery owner,” he said.
On 25 November, people from the three village-tracts of Tharsi, Kyaungwin and Thongwa marched to the township administration office holding placards espousing their six demands.
Kyaw Thet Oo, a member of civic society organisation, Human Rights Defenders and Promoters, outlined the demands.
“The farmers are calling for the necessary financial assistance; for the Suttaya Khanwegyi Dam fishery project to be shut down; to take legal action against village administrator and fishery operator Ngwe Thein for violation of operation regulations; to improve the drain system for better water flow; to take action against concerned government departments for failing to carry out timely measures; and to postpone the agricultural loan deadline for the farmers who lost their crops,” he said.
However, the township’s authorities told DVB they are planning to build a new irrigation channel for the farms.
In the meantime, the farmers continue to lose out as another monsoon season passes and spoilt crops are left behind.