Narinjara News

Local’s farms handed over to army families

Ponna Gyunt, August 6 :
Farms recently confiscated by the army, from local farmers in Ponna Gyunt Township, under the Akyab District, have been allocated to army member’s families, said an Arakanese monk, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The families of men serving in the Light Infantry Battalion 555 Base in Ponna Gyunt and the Light Infantry Battalion 374 Base in Pan Pe Chaung, of Kyauk Taw Township, were each given 3 acres of the stolen land by the local army officials.

“As far as I know, the Burmese army allocated three acres per family, under a self-sufficiency program. Their intention is to give the farms to the army member’s families in place of their army ration. In the future, if the Burmese authority doesn't provide rations to the families, they can produce their own food on the new land,” said the monk.

Army personnel get a monthly salary of 5000 kyat, as well as food rations, including rice, peas, milk, sugar, chilly and candles from the government, but these rations could be withheld in the future, since the families were each given land to subsist off of.

The monk said that some army personnel, who were living in the camp, could, themselves work on the given farms, while others who are serving on the front line, could rent their farms to local farmers. In Arakan State, the rental price of one acre of paddy field is about 50 baskets, the monk added.

“It is like the Arakanese proverb, ‘ a paddy farm owner is being dried out by a monkey’. These Arakanese farmers find themselves renting their own land from army personnel. This present era, under the Burmese military government, is a dark one for the Arakanese people,”the monk said angrily.

The SPDC, Burma’s ruling military government, has also recently confiscated, without compensation, over 3000 acres from farmers of northern Ponna Gyunt Township, for a government teak-planting project. The government authority is planting the trees at the foot of Bay Ngara Rang, as well as other low hill areas, plateaus and animal grazing pastures, but the remaining farms in the lower land areas, have been given to the army families.

Currently, the government is only confiscating land in the northern part of Ponna Gyunt Township, which is very close to Kyauk Taw Township. The residents of Kyauk Taw are worried that a similar event will occur in their area anyday, as there are at least 5 Burmese battalions stationed in that township.#

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