RICE MILLS BARRED FROM MILLING RICE IN SOUTH-WESTERN STATE OF MYANMAR
Sittwe, 2nd February 02 : All the privately owned rice mills in the south-western state of Myanmar have been barred from milling rice without the permission of Township Peace and Development Council (Mayaka) authority, our correspondent reported.
In a move to realize arrears of the rice target of the previous year and the new target the authority has deliberately set this year, the Rakhine State Peace and Development Council (Payaka) announced a ban on private milling of rice without their written permission. Up to November 2001, the military regime of Myanmar had not any restriction to milling of the rice left for the consumption of the rice grower families after the state forcefully had 'recovered' the season's quota of the sale of rice to the government corporation ' rice buying depots'. With the new order effective since then, the rice growers in the state cannot mill their paddy for sale in the open market. The whimsical order has left the rice growers with two options : either to sell the paddy to the government at deliberately lowered price which will deprive them of the reasonable price in the open market, or have the entire season's harvest confiscated by the junta officials.
According to a boat-owner from Pauktaw who also owns a rice mill told our correspondent that, each owner has to pay a tax of kyat 400,000 a year for a rice mill to the SPDC coffer, besides regularly bribing the township administration and Military Intelligence for permission to mill rice more than the amount fixed by the State Administration . The move has left the rice farmers and rice mill owners in a precarious situation since the diesel fuel to run the mills has to be bought in the black market, too. In the last two months most of the small rice mills in the state have been forced to shut down because of the order of the SPDC junta.
The unreasonable order of the State administration may have also been targeted at crippling the economy of the poorest undeveloped state of