March 23, 2018
Around 1,000 farmers protested against China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) in the Arakan State’s Ann on March 22 for failing to give compensation for damaged farmlands and plantations.
“We protested to say that we don’t want the Chinese Petroleum Company and MOGE and demand them to pay compensation for damaged farmlands and plantations. We also demanded them to repair the damaged farmlands to their original state,” said U Win Myint, a protest organizer.
The protesting farmers gathered in front of the Land Records office in Ann and marched along Yangon-Sittwe Road to the bank, the township administrative office, and the police station while holding placards and posters and shouting slogans. Then, the protesters continued to march to Ward 3 in Ann Myothit and dispersed after circling the ward.
The farmers were from nine village-tracts under Ann Township, namely Kyauk Myaung village-tract, Nwar Yon Taung village-tract, Taung Hpi Lar village-tract, Ann Taung village-tract, Hmwar village-tract, Tan Tin village-tract, Sa Khan Maw village-tract, Lone Kauk village-tract, and Auk Ywar village-tract.
“Around 40 people from my village participated in the protest. I don’t know how many acres of land have been damaged in my village. [Plantations, rubber plantations, and cashew plantations] have been damaged. Some people lost three acres. Some people lost four acres. They didn’t receive any compensation so they have come to protest against China’s CNPC and MOGE,” said U Hla Thein, a farmer from Hmwar village-tract.
The farmers submitted complaints to the Arakan State government to get compensation for their damaged farmlands, plantations, and pastureland before holding the protest. The government conducted field surveys on the damaged lands and agreed to pay the compensation. However, the CNPC and the MOGE still have not given any compensation to the farmers, according to U Hla Thein.
“They are protesting against the Chinese company CNPC and MOGE. They aren’t making demands to the township administrative department or the government. We have already submitted [this issue] to the higher authorities in the past. Above and beyond writing a report on this protest and putting forward it to our superiors, we won’t do anything else,” U Ko Ko Myat, general administrator of Ann Township said when he was asked about the protest.
The township administrator explained that the first round of compensation has been given for the farmlands that have been damaged by the construction of oil and gas pipelines in Ann Township but the protesting farmers were not included.
Farmlands and plantations along the pipelines’ path have been damaged in Ann Township. Other farmlands, plantations, and public land have also been damaged by mud after the earth was dug up to lay the pipelines.