Having received poor compensation for their land, villagers demand Mon State government investigate June Cement Industry Ltd.

July 16, 2019

In their search for justice, farmers in Kyaikmayaw Township’s Mount Pyar Taung region are demanding that the Mon State government investigate the June Cement Industry Ltd.’s  2011 acquisition of farmland. Specifically, area farmers have taken issue with the low levels of compensation provided in exchange for their land.

In 2011, June Cement acquired land from approximately 100 farmers in Kyaikmayaw Township’s Mae Ga Row, Kaw Don, and Kaw Pa Naw villages. In exchange for their land, farmers received between 30,000 (US $19.88) to 50,000 kyat (US $33.14) per acre. Now, as June Cement looks to proceed with their project, farmers are calling on U Aung Kyaw Thu, the Chair of the Mon State Complaint and Appeal Letter Review and Assessment Committee, to champion their cause and secure further compensation from the company.

Some of the farmers were away from their village when their land was taken. The company [June Cement] categorized the land according to their own standards and gave 50,000 kyat per acre for the best quality land, and only 30,000 kyat per acre for mid-range land. According to current market value, the land that June Cement acquired is priced at about seven million kyat (US $4,639.78) per acre. We’re not calling for the company’s project not to proceed, but we want June Cement to rectify this land dispute,” said Nai Shwe Win, leader of the Pyar Taung Region Social Development Association.

Continuing, Nai Shwe Win stated that the government should confirm with June Cement the amount of land needed for the company’s proposed jetty and canal, and limestone mining operations, so farmland that has been acquired but is no longer needed can be returned to local farmers.

June Cement has had permission to proceed with their project for nine years. Even though they’ve had permission for so long they still haven’t started their project yet. The Mon State parliament hasn’t given June Cement permission to operate, rather, permission was granted by the Myanmar Investment Commission [a Union-level body]. As a member of parliament, I’ve reported the struggles of the farmers in the Mount Pyar Taung region to the Mon State government,” said U Aung Kyaw Thu.

On June 15th 2019, June Cement organized a public consultation meeting with residents of the three villages in question to inform residents of the company’s proposed work plan, and to solicit feedback from villagers. Attendees are reported not to have voiced opposition to the project. Given that villagers were in the presence of authorities, there are fears that opposition may discourage authorities from pursuing future development projects in the Mount Pyar Taung region.

Still, residents have used other venues to voice their concerns.

When June Cement first came here, we lodged formal complaints with the Mon State government to let them know that we didn’t want the company to operate here. We also organized a press conference in Mawlamyine, and street protests, but none of our efforts get the attention of authorities. Like June Cement, Mawlamyine Cement Limited promised many things during their public consultations, but when they started their project they didn’t keep any of their promises,” said Nai Tun Kyi, member of a civilian committee responsible for monitoring all large-scale investment projects in the Mount Pyar Taung region.

At the moment, there is no indication that June Cement Industry Ltd. will further compensate villagers in the Mount Pyar Taung region for farmland acquired in 2011.

With an investment of US $471 million, June Cement will produce 5,000 tons of cement per day once its factory has entered full operation. The Myanmar Investment Commission gave June Cement permission to operate in March 2015.

Comments

Got something to say?