Andin village committee members resign over lack of transparency with upcoming Offshore Supply Base

December 6, 2017

HURFOM: Two of the four members of the Andin Village Farmland Management Committee have resigned after refusing to agree to rezone 19.67 acres of farmland in Andin village track for use in the Offshore Oil and Gas Base, despite being pressured by the Ye Township General Administrator.

The two former committee members are U Maung Ye and U Min Myint Thein (Farmers’ Representative).

According to U Maung Ye, Township General Administrator U Tin Nyunt called the four members of the committee for a meeting on November 20th 2017 and requested that they bring the committee seal to the Township General Administration Office. At the office, the administrator explained that some farmland nearby Andin village has been requested for use in the upcoming Offshore Oil and Gas Supply Base project.

It’s nothing wrong in accordance with the laws. But after reading the document, I refused to sign because the local people know nothing [about the project]. And we’re afraid that if we sign [the document], we will be bad people for our villagers. Moreover, we have been elected by the locals so we don’t want to do anything that has no transparency,” said U Min Myint Thein.

According to the committee, they requested that the township general administrator give them seven days before making a decision, but this request was denied, as well as their request for three days. Eventually, they requested a night to consider the proposal, but the administrator replied that if they did not sign the agreement immediately they had to resign from the committee.

Only the [Andin] village administrator (also chairperson of the committee) signed the document. We said we won’t sign the agreement unless we have a discussion with local monks and villagers. But the township administrator wouldn’t give us time. He forced us to sign immediately so we handed in our resignation,” said U Maung Ye.

I am the village administrator so if I refuse to sign it looks like I persuaded others not to sign also. So I signed the document. But the document can’t be legalized by my sole approval. All committee members must sign the agreement,” said U Tin Shaung.

According to Mi Ni Mar Oo, an activist from Andin village, the local General Administration Department (GAD) declared on March 5th 2017 that there had been an application to use farmland in other ways and if someone wanted to oppose the application they had 30 days to do so.

In response, villagers and monks from seven villages in Andin village track signed a petition on March 29th and sent it to the Mon State chief minister, the vice speaker, and other members of the Mon State Parliament and the Mon State Farmland Management Committee, according to Mi Ni Mar Oo.

“The notice letter stated 19.67 acres of land, but the company contract said 68 acres. That makes us worry. We doubt that there is transparency,” said Mi Ni Mar Oo.

After the planned 1,280 MW coal-fired power plant was suspended, Andin residents have been refusing any proposed mega project.

We want to make our livelihoods with natural resources in our region. If the project goes ahead, our resources will be destroyed. We don’t want this happen to us. We want to conserve our resources,” said Mi Dar Dar, from the Andin Youth Group.

The Myanmar Offshore Supply Base LTD (MOSB) has repeatedly tried to persuade locals to organize consultation meetings, but locals have denied them, so there has been no meeting between the company and the locals.

It is reported that the company was granted permission to start the project on July 11th 2017 and MOSB CEO Leonard Oh said the project would support the development of Mon State and create more job opportunities. However, the locals are hesitant to welcome the project as there is a lack of transparency, as well as environmental and social impact assessments.

 

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