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Land seized for rubber plantation

Feb 7, 2008 (DVB), Three thousand acres of privately-owned land has been seized from Ngwe Saung township farmers by family members of a State Peace and Development Council general, according to locals.

Nyaw Hnaung Khin Maung Than and Min Zeya Hlaing, the daughter and son-in-law of SPDC general Khin Maung Than, seized the land from farmers in Ngwe Saung township in Irrawaddy division in February 2007, giving them no compensation.

One of the previous owners said that the land was to be used for a rubber plantation.

"Three thousand acres of land owned by local residents along the highway to Ngwe Saung beach resort was seized without compensation for a rubber plantation," he said.

"So far they have cultivated around 500 acres of land."

A cashew nut farmer said that the cashew trees he had been growing on his land for decades have now been cleared.

"They should compensate us 4 million kyat, and they said they would pay us, but it hasn't happened so far," the farmer said.

The seized lands have now been walled in and a sign posted up warning people not to trespass, which has caused difficulties for local farmers who need to cross the land to take their cattle to pasture.

Another plantation owner said that the new owners were demanding wheat or labour from anyone seeking to cross their land.

"We've been asked to pay half a ton of wheat if we want to take two buffalo cattle to graze, and one ton for cows," the plantation owner said.

"If you just want to go yourself, then you have to cut 100 bamboo stalks. So you don't have to pay, but you have to contribute labour."

Carpenters who want to cut through the area have to give 20 blocks of wood to the owners.

Local residents said they have reported the case to the village Peace and Development Council, but they have taken no action, and so they intend to take their case further.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw


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