MYANMAR ARMY FORCIBLY COLLECT CHARCOAL FROM VILLAGERS
Sittwe, 20 February 02 : Troops of the Myanmar Army are busy forcibly collecting charcoal in Ponnagyun township in the south-western state of Myanmar, according to a charcoal trader from Sittwe.
The charcoal making has been more profitable than rice farming this year since the rice farmers have been compelled to 'sell' more quantity of rice at throwaway prices this year than ever to the State Peace and Development junta. In recent dry months, the villagers around the Bey-nga-ra ranges in the township, are seen burning firewood and making charcoal in pits and caves in the hills. A kyin (100 cft) or gu of charcoal fetches a price of about kyat 20,000 depending upon quality.
In a typical working day villagers could be seen vigorously working in the villages of Bajun-cheik, Mrat-lay, Kanaing-daung,Thay-do, Poh-ri-gung, Taung-na-rwah, Kyang-talinn, Kraing-khin, Paing-neela, Aung-pru-brang, and Yoe-nguung at the foothills of the Bay-nga-ra ranges. Compared to last year, this year's production of charcoal is expected to double.
All the households in Sittwe and other towns of