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Farmland confiscated for road to defence factory

Feb 3, 2009 (DVB), More than 20 acres of farmland in Setoketaya township, Magwe division, have been confiscated to build a road to a defence materiel factory six miles outside the town, according to local residents.

Farmland in Ywathit and Taung Khaya villages was seized but farmers received no compensation, a villager said.

"The road cuts across farmlands and paddy fields and a stream. The road has already been carved out – it just needs to be concreted over," the villager said.

"Many farms have been taken away as a result , around 20 acres in all. A considerable amount of rice crops was destroyed," he went on.

"Some people who planted sesame and beans tried to salvage as much as they could when they bulldozed the fields, but they could not stop it all being destroyed," he said.

"Some people are waiting for compensation but nothing has been given out so far. They used to be able to eat and drink in the past, now they are starving because of the road."

The road has been built by the Chan Hein company which was contracted to build the factory at the end of last year.

Farmers have not dared to report the matter to higher authorities for fear of reprisals.

Local villagers are dependent on agriculture to survive as the villages are located in a remote river valley area with no flow of goods from surrounding towns.

The Chan Hein company is based in Mandalay and most of its shareholders are army officers.

According to a member of staff, Chan Hein makes it very difficult for workers to leave the company.

The Chan Hein company could not be reached for comment.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw


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