Rathidaung: The army, police and forestry department that are based in the Kyauktan Area in Rathedaung Township in Arakan State are collecting illegal toll taxes from local villagers who are living off cutting wood and bamboo in the area.
“We are just surviving on cutting and selling bamboo and wood from nearby forests in our area, but we are now our livelihoods are in great trouble because the army, police and forestry department here are collecting heavy toll taxes from us by opening their respective toll gates. Now it is like we are working to feed them because we have no other job here”, said a villager from Rezoechaung Village in the area.
He said the army team led by Captain Lin Htein from the Light Infantry Battalion (538), the police team led by Than Phay, of the Kyauktan Police Station and the forestry team led by Sein Lone, in-charge of local forestry department, are collecting their respective toll-taxes from the villagers.
“Each team collects 200 Kyat for 100 bamboo and 30,000 Kyat for a saw for cutting wood, and we have to pay 600 Kyat for 100 bamboo and 90,000 Kyat for a saw for each time coming out from the forest”, he said.
According to the source, most of the villagers from Laigon, Rayboat, Paythadu and Resoechaung villages in the Kyauktan area are earning their income by cutting wood and bamboos from nearby forests.
100 bamboos are sold at 16,000 Kyat and a ton of lumber at 90,000 Kyat in the local markets in Arakan State.