Plantations in Min Tar seized a second time

December 7, 2012

HURFOM: Since December 2010, Burmese Navy Unit No. 43, under the command of the Ka Dike regional command headquarters, has allegedly seized 3,000 acres of land spanning 200 rubber plantations on Kywe Thone Nyi Ma Island in Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Region. Recently, residents of the island’s eastern Min Tar Village reported that after two years of being barred from their primary source of income, they were briefly allowed to work the plantations only to have the land confiscated again.

According to the landowners, an agreement was made in August with the village administrators and naval authorities that granted them permission to work on their plantations in exchange for paying a monthly or annual tax. Villagers began actively tending to the fields that had fallen into disrepair after the two year ban, investing in new laborers and materials for cultivation. However, the arrangement lasted only three months, after which residents reported being once again denied access to their land.

Plantation owner Nai Myint Aye described that on November 19, he was told by local officials that the authorization he received to cultivate his land was being revoked, despite the 500,000 kyat he had just spent on improvements to his land.

“I first got the permission to work my land for a fee of 50,000 kyat. On my eight acres, I upgraded four acres of the rubber plantation with the hope of earning income from tapping the trees. We cleared the shrubs that had grown during the ban…and we added more fertilizer. It cost over 30,000 kyat per day [to pay] the workers. When everything was ready, we were informed that the authorities banned us [from working the land] again, so it meant we prepared our plantation just for them [to use]. They did not see us as humans but as animals. We would like to know who can help us solve this problem. As for us, we have nothing to hope for except our plantation. Although it is impossible to get our land back, we still hope to get some part of it. We would like to get help from anyone who can help us.”

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