Local villagers oppose relocation proposed by stone mining company

October 4, 2019

HURFOM: Local residents near Danne Kyar village, Ma Kyi village tract, a Khawza sub-township, in southern Ye Township, Mon State, do not wish to move to a new site being proposed by a stone mining company.

The company known as the Excellent Fortune Foundation (EFF) is seeking to clear the area of residents so they can mine the mountain called, Pa Lal Kha Por, located between the Ma Kyi and Danne Kyar villages.

Villagers have refused to relocate to the  new location because it is an abandoned paddy field and close to a cemetery. The villagers are worried that the company will try to forcibly evacuate them. 

We, local people, do not want this mountain destroyed and do not accept it. Therefore, the villagers did not accept the arrangement by the company. However, the villagers [may] have to accept resettlement [if] they feel afraid when the company cooperates with authorities and threatens them,” said Nai Sat Paing, one of the Ma Kyi villagers.

According to Nai Tin Shwe, another resident of Ma Kyi village, the company has prepared 80 square ft. of land for each household. However, villagers were not informed if houses will be provided or built on the lands, or what future plans the company may have for their lands.

We heard that the company will buy the land. But we are not sure if they will also provide [a] house. Later, we heard that the company will build the house but they will take the current land instead. Therefore, the residents who lived there for so long did not agree but some villagers who stay in city agreed,” continued Nai Tin Shwe.

Local people rely on the mountain for water, and growing betel nuts, coconut, rubber and they have established elephant foot yam plantations and a small-scale fishery, all of which provides them with a livelihood. There are about 20,000 acres of farmland in the Ma Kyi village tract.

Local residents are concerned the stone mining operation will negatively impact their plantations, gardens, the natural environment and their livelihoods..

As villagers, we will try our best to prevent this mountain from [being mined by] the company and [we] will submit [an] appeal letter to [the] government as well,” continued Nai Tin Shwe.

The company recently halted its activities due to a failure to reach an agreement with all of the villagers.

Dr. Min Kyi Win, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, told HURFOM that he knew nothing about companies mining project on Pa Lal Kha Por mountain.

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