Plantation owners along pipeline project await compensation
February 10, 2013
HURFOM: In late 2012, HURFOM began documenting and reporting on restoration efforts being undertaken along a 12-year-old gas pipeline originating near Kanbauk in Tenasserim Region and ending in Myaing Kalay, Karen State. Certain portions are being dug up and repaired, while others are being moved across streets or fields to straighten the trajectory of the line. The original pipeline was constructed parallel to the Ye to Moulmein railway, but updated segments are often being laid closer to the Ye to Mudon motorway.
However, in Sone Natar Village of Ye Township, workers made an exception during construction in January to avoid the houses built alongside the road. Many of the villagers’ homes are located beside the motorway and would have been demolished if the pipeline route was not instead directed toward the back of the central community.
Despite the caution exercised by project engineers and construction workers, sections of three rubber plantations and one betel nut plantation were damaged during the Sone Natar line restoration. In total, landowners estimated that around 150 rubber trees and 80 betel plants were destroyed. According to residents, the government guaranteed compensation for any land affected by the project, and the four plantation owners said they are waiting for the promise to be kept.
“There was never a chance to say anything because it was the government who made the order and took our land as part of the [pipeline] plan,” said a Sone Natar resident. “So we don’t have any authority to find out [what will happen].”
Pipeline modifications began in November last year to repair worn-out sections and extend the flow of gas to Yangon, requiring the acquisition of previously untouched land.
The Kanbauk to Myaing Kalay gas line branches off the 180-mile Yadana pipeline that stretches lengthwise across the southern peninsula of Burma, also called Myanmar.