Narinjara News

 

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.

 

Platwa Township lies in the southern part of Chin State, close to Arakan. It is an area of Burma containing diverse ethnic groups, including Arakanese, Chin, Khami, Mro, Mru and Lingray. Slash and burn is a traditional practice of these ethnic groups.

 

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.

 

In Platwa Township, 85 percent of the people work as slash and burn Cultivators, but following the ban they are now finding their livelihoods under threat.

 

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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