Irrigation project begins on farmland seized without compensation

Heavy machinery in operation on seized land in Nay Pyi Taw for irrigation project (Photo-EMG)

Authorities have reportedly begun work on an irrigation project on land that was seized from farmers in Ottarithiri Township, Nay Pyi Taw District, without paying compensation. 

Some villagers say the construction of irrigation canals has started to irrigate about 400 acres of land near Phaung Laung Dam in the township. As a result, their farmlands included in the project area have been destroyed and uncompensated.

“Two months ago, local authorities held three rounds of coordination meetings with the villagers. But we haven’t been informed about details of how much money we can get per acre in compensation,” said Hla Shwe from Phayagon Village in Maungyan Village Tract.

A resident from Maungyan Village quoted the local authorities as saying they could get between Ks 1 million and Ks 1.5 million per acre, but he said actual value of the land is about Ks 3 million per acre.

Ko Ko Naing, deputy director of the Irrigation Department said: “We will take measures to satisfy the landowners. We have met with them. We have price rates for land compensation set by our ministry and the Nay Pyi Taw Council. We will pay compensation within the framework.” 

Lower House MP Naing Ngan Lin said Ks 3 million per acre is appropriate, stressing the need for the government to negotiate with the local farmers.