Friday, September 30, 2011

Army Major Sells Farmer Owned Arable Lands to Indian Company for 40 million kyat

Kyauk Pru: An army major who once served on the district council of Kyauk Pru, the second largest city in Arakan state, has sold off arable lands owned by local farmers to an Indian company for 40 million kyat, said local farmers in the area.

Major San Maung Maung sold off the arable farms and pastures to an Indian company, Punj LIoyd, for 40 million kyat. They are located at Pyatay Village in Kyaukpru Township in western Burma’s Arakan State.

Pya-Tae The lands sold by Major San Maung Maung has been bulldozed by Punj Lioyd for its projects. ( Photos by Narinjara)
The land is 24 acres wide and located at a strategic point, which will be used for the construction of a oil and gas related factory. The major sold the lands to Indian company after the lands were registered in his name at the survey department at some point over last a few years through bribery, when he was in Kyauk Pru district council.

A social activist who recently visited the village reported said, “Major San San Maung has already sold out the farmers’ lands to the Indian company known as Punj LIoyd after registering the lands under his name in the local land survey department. Now the company is starting their projects on the land.”

He said the farmers have come to know that their lands were confiscated when the company started to bulldozing parts of their lands for its projects.

“According to what I have learnt from the area, Major San Munng Maung served as an official for the District Peace and Development Council in the area and during his tenure he registered those lands owned by the farmers under his name by offering some bribes to the officials of the local land department. He has now sold those lands to Punj LIoyd”, said the youth.

However this is not the only such case in Kyaukpru, many military high ranking officials have registered acres of lands, including lands owned by the locals, under their respective names as they have had the benefit of knowing about upcoming plans of foreign projects as well as knowledge of the gas and oil dual pipeline projects.

Major General Maung Oo, who served as the former Commander of the Western Command in Arakan State as well as the former Home Minister, is included amongst those officials, as he sold out a common plot of land in Goonshein Village situated six mile away from Kyaukpru main town to Korea Daewoo for a price of Kyat 400 Lakh after registering the land under his wife’s name.

“Every plot of land in a good location owned by local residents in Kyaukpru has already gone into the hands of high ranking Burmese military officials and the local people do not know how to deal with their own lands, fearing they will be arrested if they complain about the forcible confiscation of their lands. Now half of the farmland and common grazing lands are no longer in the hands of the local people”, said a local resident.

He also said that the farmers from the village do not know how to do with their own farmlands and are watching with tears in their eyes as the lands that provided them with a livelihood are now bulldozed by the Indian Company “Punj LIoyd” for its projects.

Furthermore many of these farmers in Kyauk Pru Township are now jobless after their lands were confiscated by army authorities for personal use or interests, or confiscated by the government to make way for the gas and oil pipe line which will be connected with China.

Besides these problems, the villagers are also worrying about the alleged news that over 50 yards of their lands are now being marked with the red flags by the local land survey department in order to be confiscated for laying gas and oil pipelines.
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