Mudon Township village administrator accused of exploiting land resources

June 23, 2017

On June 14th 2017, the Mawlamyine-based Mon State Environment and Resource Lovers Association (MERLA) submitted a written report to the Mon State parliament accusing the Wet Tel village administrator of exploiting community land for personal gain. The association demanded the Mon State government take immediate action against the administrator and restore the land for public use.

The Mudon Township land in question is approximately 14 acres in size and divided equally by a road, with 7 acres on the east side of the road and 7 acres on the west side. The land began to appear as the levels of the Wet Tel Lake have slowly been receding over the years. A religious hall has been constructed on the east side of the land, while the west side of the land was divided into plots by the Wet Tel village administrator, U Shwe Win, and U Hote Win, a retired staff member of the Mudon Township Land Records Department.

U Shwe Win and U Hote Win have been selling the land plots for their personal benefit since 2014, according to U Zin Aung Kyaw, a MERLA Negotiations Officer.

The village administrator had promised Wet Tel villagers that the profits from selling the land plots would be used for village development, such as repairing schools and constructing public markets, roads, and bridges. However, there has been strong evidence that the administrator had appropriated the funds for his personal benefit, according U Zin Aung Kyaw.

According to locals, the administrator and the retired Mudon Township Land Records Department staff member created 56 40×60 foot land plots on the west side of the land and began selling them in 2014. Now, there are only 10 plots left. However, the contract of sale omitted the price paid for each plot of land and suggested that they were freely offered to those who had done community development projects, according to Min Win Bo from the Mon State Land Resource Center.

They said markets, roads, and bridges would be constructed [with the profits from selling the land plots). But the [Mudon Township] Municipal [Office] did the road construction and a donor paid 1 million kyat (US $729) for the bridge. So there was no money from the administrator,” said Nai Sein Tee, a member of the Mon Region Social Development Network.

In 2015, upset by the administrator’s misconduct, approximately 500 villagers organized a protest, followed by the submission of a report to authorities in March 2016. However, there has been no reply.

The Wet Tel Lake has been the main water resource for locals from Wet Tel, Kyone Phite. and Nyaung Tone villages and is a vital resource for the farmers who do summer paddy cultivation. According to the locals, because of the receding levels of water in the lake, they have been facing agricultural hardship.

The villagers have demanded that they want authorities to restore the lake [to its original state] for better access to water resources and livelihood fishery.

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