Local farmers upset with lack of compensation for land use in electricity project

May 4, 2018

Farmers in three townships in Mon State are upset with Khin Maung Nyunt Co. Ltd. after the company failed to pay compensation for using their land. Approximately 21 local farmers in eight villages in Mawlamyine, Thanbyuzayat, and Kyaikmayaw townships are owed compensation from the electricity-providing company, who has been planning to provide 24-hour electricity in nearby villages.

The company installed 66 kV utility poles in paddy farms and promised they would provide compensation for using the farmland.

They said compensation would be paid so we’ve been waiting. But as time has passed and the rainy season came, they had to stop their work [and have not paid],” said Nai Jee, a farmer from Kaw Pee Htaw village, Mudon Township.

The utility poles were installed in 2017, and farmers have requested that the electrical engineers, who came to setup the electric cables, help them with meeting officials from the company.

In the first week of March, U Nyo Win—an official from the company—came to the village to meet with the farmers. When the farmers asked for the compensation, he said, ‘the state government hasn’t allowed us to pay compensation as the project is for the local development of Mon State. So, we won’t pay compensation. You can file a report with the union government to complain about compensation,’” said Daw Myat Mon, a representative of the farmers in Kalogtaw village, Mudon Township.

One or two utility poles have been installed in each plot of farmland, and the poles have been disturbing farmers’ work.

The base of the utility poles is made up of concrete. When ploughing with tractors, it is difficult to turn around. We can’t move freely and have to be careful in those places. We have to leave out 3-sq-ft of land per farmland plot. So it’s a huge loss for the farmers who don’t possess too many acres of land. This loss will last forever,” said Daw Myat Mon.

Regarding the loss, local farmers filed a report with the Mon State Chief Minister, relevant ministries, lawmakers from Parliament, and the General Administration Department (GAD) on March 21st 2018. However, they have yet to receive a reply.

Similarly, another 24-hour electricity project in northern Ye has started. Local farmers there asked for compensation and officials from the company met with them and explained why they should not pay compensation for the project.

They can’t plough only within 2-sq-ft of land. That amount of land can produce only half a can of condensed milk. If we have to pay compensation for those small losses, no one can invest [in Mon State],” said an official from the 24-hour electricity project in northern Ye.

According to an official from the company, the Mon State Chief Minister told them that the state government would take responsibility when farmers asked for compensation.

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