Mhen Yu Kyaw (Shwewa Land), Narinjara News – 18 December 2014
Farmers told Narinjara News that they still have not received compensation for over 1,600 acres of farmland that were confiscated from them to build the Ponnagyun Industrial Zone project near Ponnagyun Township, in Arakan State.
Of the 1,833 acres of farmland on which the Ponnagyun Industrial Zone will be built 1,648 acres have come from five villages in Ponnagyun Township said U Tun Aung Kyaw, the People’s Parliament representative for Ponnagyun Township.
Farmers whose land was confiscated in 2012 said they still have not received any compensation.
“We have not received any compensation money yet and we do not know when they will give us any compensation,” said U Tin Maung, who lost about 40 acres of his land in Tan-Swel Village.
The industrial zone is going to be built near Yaypaukchaung Village, west of Ponnagyun Township. Farmlands from Yay-Pauk-Chaung, Net-Sake, Min-Gan, Tan-Swel and Yar-Chaung Villages were also confiscated for the project.
Farmland owners said that last year when the state prime minister, U Hla Maung Tin, met with them he told them they would receive 2.5 million kyats compensation for every acre of land confiscated from them.
“We do not know when we will be given any compensation money. Some people think that officials were lying because we have heard nothing more from them since they promised to give us compensation. The farmers are still hoping that they will get compensated,” said U Maung Than Tun, who lost about 30 acres of his farmlands in Min-Gan Village.
Farmers said that because they have received no compensation they have been unable to buy replacement farmland or invest in another trade, so they are having to work on the confiscated farmlands to provide themselves with an income.
A deputy minister of the president’s office told a parliamentary meeting on 7th July 2014 that because there is no basic infrastructure, such as transportation, water and electricity, work on the Ponnagyun Industrial Zone cannot start before the 2015-16 financial year.
The Ponnagyun Industrial Zone will cost over 70 billion kyats to build. There will be over thirty factories, including a garment factory, a rice mill, a freshwater fish and prawn farm and a refrigerated storage area.
Local residents have been promised plenty of job opportunities after the industrial zone is built.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey.