Farmers getting no answers in 20-year-old military land grab - Myanmar | Land Portal

The seized land areas in Pakokku, Magway Region 
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Local farmers in Pakokku township of Mandalay Region who lodged a complaint with authorities in 2012 demanding that the army return 400 acres of land seized 20 years ago, say they have still not received a response.

In 1994, Myanmar Army Division-101 reportedly seized land owned by local farmers in the area of Pauk Lake.

Despite claims that the land would be used for military buildings, the army hired them to work the farm and also to fish in the lake, locals said. In addition, they were asked to return 16 baskets (about 334 kg) of rice per acre during cultivation season and Ks 5 million (about US$5,000) during fishing season.

“When we carried out our farm work, we irrigated water from Pauk Lake over a limited period to benefit the farmland. But after the army seized the land, they themselves chose the areas they liked for cultivation purposes. Every year, 80 acres are left without any cultivation,” said a local farmer, who said he had 11 acres of land seized.

“The local residents have been doing odd jobs for over 20 years as they are landless. For my 4.50 acres of land, the government’s Development Affairs Department has hired me to work in return for crops. We have demanded the return of our land but there is no response. We have also informed a member of Magway Region Parliament, Hla Swe, when he visited us. But no response has been received.”

The more than 400 acres of land was formerly owned by locals from seven villages in Pakokku Township. After its seizure, the land has been under the control of three infantry regiments under Division-101.

“They (servicemen) have got their salaries and other supplies. For us, we have to do farm work to earn a living. After land grabbing, we have to tighten our belt. Previously, we caught fish from the lake and shared them. Now, we have to seek approval to work in the farmland and in the lake in return of money. It is not appropriate at all. The land should be returned as there are no military buildings,” said a resident from Kokohla Village.

Regarding the land plots seized by the former military regime, the people from Pakokku Township have sent complaints to parliament’s land investigation commission. And while some land has been returned, the majority of the complaints remain unanswered.

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Source photo : EMG

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