Leasing rivers and creeks
Sittwe, 9 December: The
Burmese junta officials in the western part of
As the present period of lease runs out in this month, the local state junta officials are making preparations to lease the rivers and creeks to the military and police forces’ “welfare” trusts before the expiry of the present lease period.
The trusts again would sub-lease the rivers and creeks to the highest private bidders.
Afterwards the bidders who win the auction will be allowed
to collect tolls from fishing boats and fishing nets under their respective
Under the present system of leasing out the water bodies, a
leaseholder collects kyat 1,000 for small fishing nets, kyat 5,000
for a 2m net, and kyat 10,000 for a 4m net, and it goes up to kyat 50,000 for a
trawling net for the permission to fish in the selected area for one
year. Again the fishermen have to bring their catches for sale to
the leaseholders under the ‘agreement’ and that is too for a price determined
by the owners of the leased sections of the water bodies. A large number
of people who cannot pay the demanded sum are disallowed from fishing in the
natural waters of
The system serves two purposes to the junta firstly, it helps to earn money for the upkeep of its troops and the police forces that are poorly paid, far less than the subsistence limit. Then secondly, the measure restricts on the operation of private fishermen, indirectly wielding control over the fishing community. But for the general public it surely means increase in fish price and less fish on the dining table, said a businessman from the locality. The burden so imposed by the price increase is very heavy upon the 80% people who live on a low income, a businessman said.
In like manner all other rivers and creeks of the state
including the Kaladan and