Saturday October 21st 2017

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PWO – Villagers facing livelihood hardships due to mass land confiscation at Pankhar village

250 acres of villagers land were destroyed and 30 acres of land were confiscated by the Chinese Ngwe Kabar Company as they dug up silicon stone in Pankhar Village.

250 acres of land from Pankhar Village Awe Law Tract in Namkhan Township were destroyed and 8 acres were confiscated by Ngwe Kabar Company without any compensation for the victims.

Moreover, 20 acres of land from Honar Village, Awe Law Tract in Namkhan Township were also confiscated without any compensation, again by Ngwe Kabar Company. The Ngwe Kabar Company began to dig up the silicon stone on Nov, 2012 at both Pankhar and Honar villages under the Awe Law Tract, Namkhan Township without prior permission from the villagers. The villagers are not satisfied with them destroying and confiscating their land.

One farmer that had his land confiscated said, “Most of our land was destroyed because of them digging for silicon stone. When they dug up the silicon, the soil blocked the water drainage that goes through to the farms. Therefore, we couldn’t access the water on our farms and can’t grow our plants on the farms. We complained about it to the Chairman of our village but he can do nothing. We didn’t get any compensation for our taken land and we don’t have land to farm to survive. We are not satisfied with the situation.”

The villagers from Pankhar and Honar main livelihoods are on these farms and now there is no land for the farmers to farm to get an income. The villagers are facing loss of livelihoods and many economic hardships because of land confiscation and the destroying of lands by Ngwe Kabar Company.

The villagers are trying to stop these cases happening again and have brought them to the attention of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party – SNDP also known as Kyar Phyu Party (White Tiger Party) in Northern of Shan State. After the villagers made their claims, the Minister of Minerals from Taunggyi, U Sai Aik Paung came and had a meeting with Ngwe Kabar Company about compensation for victims. They have agreed to pay compensation in the region of 750,000 Kyat for one acre but the villagers have still not received any compensation for their lands.

When the company started to dig silicon stone, they didn’t inform the villagers or get permission from the villagers in 2012. The company first started to plough the betel leaf fields and as a result of this the land was destroyed. The company said that they will pay compensation about 200,000 to 500,000 Kyat per acre when they started. They use the silicon for phone covers, wires and ropes etc. If this this project is a success, the company will set up a further six years project to dig up more silicon all around the Palaung area.

Follow up- Cotton plants – 95 acres, 1010 acres for fruit plants tree- 400 acres for Mannaung / pan khar productive farms and 55 acres were destroyed.  Totally there are 1560 acres were destroyed.

Information Documentation and Research Department
Palaung Women’s Organization