Narinjara news

Forced Closure of Shrimp Farms lands people into Trouble

Sittwe, 19th September 02:  Shrimp farms in a number of townships in Western Burma have been destroyed by digging their raised banks, according to a shrimp farm owner who escaped to Teknaf in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh.

The Rakhine State Peace and Development Council junta have ordered its troops to destroy many of the shrimp farms in the state alleging that the shrimp farms were constructed on rice paddies illegally so that the rice production of the state is being hampered.  Many shrimp farms in the townships of Maungdaw, Rathedaung, Pauktaw, Minbra, Mrebon and Kyaukpru were destroyed, said Maung Maung Tun, an owner of shrimp farm at Minbra to our correspondent.

While the Commnder of the Western Command, Brigadier General Maung Oo was aboard the Malikha, a fast motor vessel, on a trip to Taungoup 5 March this year, he saw the shrimp farms at Pauktaw Township and inquired about the feasibility of the farms.  When some of the officials of the Fisheries Department aboard the vessel told him how successful the farms were he got jealous about the huge income the farms were generating to the Rakhine shrimp farm owners and on his return to his headquarters at Ann, he issued orders to close down all the shrimp farms constructed on farmlands.

The shrimp farm owner told our correspondent that the shrimp farms were actually constructed on shallow dams built in saline areas that can never be used for growing rice, since rice grows only in fields irrigated by sweet water.  Besides they were constructed with due permission from the Livestock and Fisheries Department and the Department of Land Affairs.  The owners also had to pay huge bribes to get the permissions and necessary licences.  The shrimp farms helped Rakhine shrimp farmers to earn huge amount of foreign currency for themselves as well as the country.  Now they are left puzzled about what to do with the whimsical order of the Burmese junta.

At least twelve shrimp farmers were arrested from Minbra Township in recent months.  It is alleged that the shrimp farmers later bribed kyat 30 million to the Western Commander to get permission to rerun the farms.  From Pauktaw Township the shrimp farm owners collected kyat 50 million and bribed the sum to Dr Khin Win Shwe, wife of Secretary 1 of Burmese junta, Khin Nyunt.

In Maungdaw Township all the shrimp farms have been ordered to close down and dismantled.  In all the 17 townships of Rakhine State the Burmese junta have erected big signboards declaring severe legal measures whoever tries to ‘build shrimp farms on rice paddies.’    #