Government seizes farmland from locals

Dec 31, 2007 (DVB), The Burmese government has seized over 1000 acres of privately-owned farmlands near Meikhtila airbase for an upcoming factory project, according to locals.

On 27 October, Meikhtila military airbase authorities summoned 350 farmers from 16 villages in the area surrounding the airbase to the village-group Peace and Development Council and asked them to sign an agreement allowing the government to seize 1300 acres of their farmlands, a Meikhtila resident said.

"Villagers who own farmlands in 16 villages from three village-groups were asked by an air-force officer to sign the agreement which says they acknowledge the government’s seizure of their lands for a future factory project," said the Meikhtila resident.

"Most of the paddy rice produced in the district comes from these farmlands. They are vital food sources for all the people in the whole district."

The airbase authorities reportedly promised the farmers compensation of twelve times their farm tax rate for the loss of land.

The tax rate for each acre of farm is 1.50 kyat.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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