Farm­ers threaten to ramp up protests over lost land

The Myanmar Times - - News - Kyawkoko@mm­ KYAW KO KO

IMPATIENT at what they say is 20 years of de­lay, Man­dalay Re­gion farm­ers are warn­ing they will take their protest to the streets un­less the govern­ment re­stores their lost land. They say 3000 acres (1200 hectares) were seized in 1995 to build three govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions, but only 1000 acres were used. They say they have been de­mand­ing the re­turn of the re­main­ing 2000 acres ever since.

The land is lo­cated in Zee Pin Gyi vil­lage, Pyin Oo Lwin town­ship, Man­dalay Re­gion. The Cen­tral Fire Bri­gade In­sti­tute, the Po­lice Of­fi­cer Train­ing In­sti­tute and the Cen­tral In­sti­tute of Civil Ser­vice were built on it.

Lo­cal farmer Daw Mary said, “We asked the old govern­ment for per­mis­sion to cul­ti­vate the re­main­ing land. For­mer Man­dalay chief min­is­ter U Ye Myint told us that 200 acres would be re­turned, but it has not been re­turned. We’ve asked the new govern­ment to re­solve this case. We will wait 15 days, and if noth­ing has been done, we will take our protest to Man­dalay.

“We have no prob­lem with the govern­ment, but we want our case re­solved. We want the rest of our land back.”

About 1000 farm­ers al­ready staged a protest in Pyin Oo Lwin on July 1, ask­ing for the restora­tion of their lands and the right to cul­ti­vate there.

“We abided by the law in sub­mit­ting our let­ter. We’ve writ­ten many let­ters to var­i­ous de­part­ments, but there has been no so­lu­tion yet. We started work­ing the land, but peo­ple from the in­sti­tute stopped us,” said lo­cal res­i­dent U Thaung Shwe.

U Zaw Min Aung, an of­fi­cial with the Farm­land Man­age­ment and Sta­tis­tics De­part­ment of the re­gional govern­ment, said, “The let­ters from the farm­ers have gone to the de­part­ments con­cerned. My de­part­ment will not be in­volved un­less we are in­structed to re­turn the land. No com­mit­tee has yet been set up to de­cide this. The com­mit­tee will be set up at the re­gional and town­ship lev­els to look into the let­ters.”

– Trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han

Photo: Kyaw Ko Ko

Farm­ers protest land grabs in Zee Pin Gyi vil­lage, Man­dalay Re­gion, on July 1.

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