Farmers Complain of Incomplete Compensation for Pipeline

Kyauk Pru: Some 49 farmers from Kyaukpru Township in Arakan State have lodged a written complaint to the concerned authorities for not receiving the full amount of their respective compensation for their farmland that was lost to the gas pipeline in the area.

One of the farmers told Narinjara that it has been nearly four months since they were paid half of their compensation with the promise that the remaining half would be paid after 15 days, but they have not received it so far.

“The local authority team came to our villages on the 14th Waxing Moon Day of Thakinkyut (11 OCtober, 2011), and paid half of the compensation that we will get for our farmland lost to the pipeline with the promise that the remaining amount would be paid after 15 days. But so far we have not received the remaining compensation and that is why we have to write the matter to the concerned higher authorities,” said the farmer.

The farmers are from the villages under Krattin Village Group in Kyaukpru Township and they reportedly addressed their letter to the township administrator and sent copies of the letter to the Regional Chief Minister, the Chairman of State Parliament, the State Administrator, and the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party.

While speaking to Narinjara over the telephone, the farmer read their complaint letter as follow:

1. We are farmers living in the villages of Thaphankhar, Thaprutaung, Pyatae, Krattin and Shwemaw under Krattin Village Group in Kyaukpru Township.

2. We have lost our life-earning farmlands as the pipeline from the Shwe Gas Project has crossed over them.

3. We were paid the half the amount of compensations for our lost farmlands by the responsible officials on 14th Waxing Moon Day of Thadinkyut (11 October 2011) with their verbal promise that the remaining amount would be paid after 15 days. But we have not yet received the remaining amount of that compensation to date.

4. We have not only become landless but also suffered from great losses as our farmlands were covered with ripe paddy harvests when they were confiscated and bulldozed for the pipeline corridor.

5. We therefore would like to request you to take necessary steps for paying the remaining compensations to us with your kind considerations for our difficulties and sufferings.

Burmese Regime Invites Arakanese Rebels for Peace Talk

Dhaka: The Burmese regime has recently invited the Arakan Liberation Party, or ALP, to union-level peace negotiations, said a spokesperson from the party.

Khine Thukha, Secretary-2 and spokesperson for the ALP, said his party received the regime’s invitation for peace talks on 23 January through their armed wing based on the Thai-Burma border.

“The Deputy Leader of the regime’s Union Level Peace Making Group, U Thein Zaw, sent an invitation letter to our Vice-President U Khine Soe Naing Aung on the Thai-Burma border on 23 January to hold union-level peace negotiations with our party,” said Khine Thukha.

He added that his party welcomes the regime’s move for peace and is preparing to reply to the invitation very soon.

When asked what would be the outcome of negotiating with the regime, Khaing Thukha said, “It is now difficult for us to guess the outcomes before negotiating with them, but we would be able to tell what their intentions are and what we would continue to do after negotiating with them.”

The Arakan Liberation Party and its armed wing, the Arakan Liberation Army, has been fighting guerrilla wars against the Burmese regime on the frontiers of the Indo-Burma and Thai-Burma borders for the freedom and ethnic rights of Arakanese people in Burma.

The party and its armed wing were founded by General Khine Moe Lunn in 1973 in the area of the Karen National Union on the Thai-Burma border, and its headquarters are now based on the Indian border near Arakan State.

Bangladesh Rakhine Organization Cancelled from Official Registration

Cox’sbazar: The Bangladesh government reportedly cancelled the official registration of the Rakhine Buddhist Welfare Association, the largest organization for the local minority Rakhine community in Bangladesh, on 24 January.

Leaders of the Rakhine Buddhist Welfare Association in a seminar.

U Oo Maung Thein, the present chairman of the RBWA, confirmed the local news report that the organization was annulled from the official registry, but said he did not know yet the detailed reasons behind the government’s move.

“So far as we know, the government’s department called on U Rhee, who served as the chairman of the chairman of the organization in 2009, before they cancelled the official registry of the organization, but we do not know yet why he was summoned and the organization was cancelled. We are now looking into our organizational documents and records of the tenure from 2009 – 2010,” said U Oo Maung Thein.

He said the organization has had no problems during his current tenure from 2011-2012 as the head of the organization.

According to a local newspaper, “The Daily Ajker Deshbidesh,” the Social Welfare Department of Bangladesh has revoked the official registrations for 197 organizations, including the Rakhine Buddhist Welfare Association and 11 other Rakhine social groups from Cox’s Bazar District on the grounds that they have failed to report or show the progress of their work programs being supported annually by the department.

“The RBWA is the most important organization for our minority Rakhine peoples here and we are trying our best to maintain our organization. We still solve the problems of our organization reviewing our activities and through discussion among our members and communities as soon as possible. We hope the government will officially recognize our organization again after reporting its gaps and progresses,” said U Maung Thein.

The head office of the RBWA is based in Cox’s Bazaar. It was established in 1988, and now has over 1,000 members and 21 branches throughout Bangladesh.