Sa­gaing Re­gion farm­ers de­mand land back from fac­tory

The Myanmar Times - - News - KHIN SU WAI khin­suwai@mm­times.com

ABOUT 300 farm­ers in Sa­gaing Re­gion’s Hti­gyaing town­ship protested a long­stand­ing feud with a Chi­ne­se­backed nickel-pro­cess­ing plant on Novem­ber 10, claim­ing that the fac­tory con­fis­cated their lands with­out proper com­pen­sa­tion.

The farm­ers have been protest­ing against the com­pany since 2012, with­out re­sult.

The Ta­gaung Taung nickel mine signed a con­tract with China Non­fer­rous Metal Min­ing Co (CNMC) in Nay Pyi Taw in 2007. The project en­tailed the seizure of more than 3000 acres (1200 hectares) of land with crop com­pen­sa­tion of K50,000 an acre payable to 122 farm­ers – in­clud­ing 17 who had reg­is­tered their land – in five vil­lages of Maung Kone village tract.

This year, in Septem­ber, farm­ers sub­mit­ted their com­plaints to the Union and re­gional gov­ern­ments, and sent a let­ter to State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with ques­tions about job cre­ation, land com­pen­sa­tion, solid waste pol­lu­tion, the dis­missal of the fac­tory boss, and is­sues around the trans­porta­tion of coal from Maung Kone port.

“The lo­cal au­thor­i­ties told us this was for­est land. But be­fore the Ta­gaung for­est area was recognised, our an­ces­tors farmed those lands,” Sa­gaing Re­gion Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber U Nay Win told The Myan­mar Times in Septem­ber.

On Septem­ber 20, 95 of the con­cerned 122 farm­ers met the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and the com­pany, but did not ap­pear to reach an agree­ment.

The lo­cal MP, U Thein Han (NLD; Hti­gyaing 2), said that one of the main prob­lems in re­solv­ing the dis­pute is that the con­tested ter­ri­tory is con­sid­ered pro­tected for­est area.

Photo: Supplied

Farm­ers in Sa­gaing Re­gion’s Hti­gyaing town­ship stage a protest against the Ta­gaung Taung nickel mine on Novem­ber 10.

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