Forestry officials take land without compensating owners

Feb 11, 2008 (DVB), Farmers in Taung Twin Gyi township, Magwe division, have complained that the township forestry department has been cultivating parts of their privately-owned land without giving compensation.

A township resident said that the department began to take over land belonging to farmers in several villages south-east of Taung Twin Gyi early this year.

"The forestry department started cultivating parts of the farmlands owned by local farmers where they had already started growing their own crops, so these were destroyed," said the resident.

"The local farmers are angry that the forestry officials have cultivated their land without any advance notice and have destroyed their new season's crops," he said.

Forestry department officials said they had taken over the land because they had been ordered to prepare 200 acres of land for a government greenfield project.

They are reportedly growing custard apple and malay padauk trees on the land.

The same forestry officials have also ordered sugar cane farmers to clear their farmlands, and threatened to burn their fields if they do not comply.

"These farmers have prepared their lands to grow sugar cane, and have already planted the sugar cane in place, and now it's all been wasted," he said.

The farmers are preparing to file a complaint with the authorities.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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