Platwa, April 8
Army collects tax from slash-and-burn cultivators
Local Burmese army personnel have ordered cultivators of slash and burn practices to pay tax at the Platwa army battalion headquarters if they want to cultivate in the surrounding hill areas, said a local tribal leader.
However, 5 months ago, local SPDC authorities banned hill-side cultivation here due to deforestation in the area. Army personnel are now asking for about 30,000 Burmese kyat for one plot of slash and burn cultivation per season from cultivators.
Local people said that the order was issued by the commander in charge of Light Infantry Battalion 289 based in the township, and that Major Zaw Min from Sami army outpost issued permits to those that paid the tax.
Most cultivators want to practice slash and burn in the Platwa hills, but cannot afford to pay the high army taxes.
Unconfirmed sources have said that a number of people are now moving to Kyauk Taw towns in Arakan state in order to avoid to scarcity of food in the area in the coming rainy season. #
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