Friday, February 19, 2010

Future of 500 Families on Madae Island Uncertain

2/18/2010

Kyauk Pru: The future of Arakanese families who are currently living on Madae Island in Kyaukpru District in Arakan State are uncertain after the military authority has begun confiscating land and relocating their homes to make way for a gas pipeline.

One village elder said, "Our situation on the island is now very bad. Many of our own lands were confiscated by authorities to construct a gas pipeline. At the same time, many houses in our village were destroyed by bulldozers for construction of some buildings and oil tanks. Some families are right now living in makeshift huts after they lost their homes."

Madae Island is located ten miles south of Kyaukpru and is the main staging territory for a gas pipeline that will connect to Yunnan Province in China.

On the island, there are 12 Arakanese villages that are mostly small and poor. However, four of the villages are larger in size, with over 100 households. Those are Prin, Wra Ma, Kyauk Tan and Madi Chaung.

The Burma military recently gathered some villagers form Wra Ma, Prin after their homes were destroyed for the gas pipeline project. Because of that some villagers are now living in temporary makeshift huts that were built by Asia Worlds, which belongs to the son of a drug lord, Tun Myint Naing.

“We did not know where we would be moved after our homes were destroyed. The authority told us we have to live in the proper places where the authority puts us. We are afraid to move from the island to another island or to the mainland in Ann Township,” he said.

The village chairmen and township authority is conducting the land confiscation and relocation on the island with help of some officials from Asia Worlds.

The authorities have demolished and dug up many farmlands from Prin and Wra Ma villages with bulldozers to build pipelines and buildings.

Many villagers lost their lands for construction of the gas pipeline, including some villagers from Wra Ma village, namely U Hla Thien who lost 3 acres of lands, U Maung Shwe Tha who lost 2 acres, Hla Khaing Win who lost 1 acre, Maung San Win who lost 2 acres, and U Kyi who lost 1 acre.

Some people from Prin villages lost lands and they are U Khin Maung who lost 1 acre, Win Kyaw Khaing who lost 1 acre, Hla Kyaw Thaung who lost 2 acres, and Nyo San Win who lost 2 acres.

“The authority told us they would give compensation to us for our lands at the local price but we have not yet received the compensation. They will use some money in relocation of villagers. I heard the authority does not want to allow public living in the Island. The authority has planned to move the villagers from the island to another island and some places in mainland of Arakan state ,” he said.

It was learned that the authority has surveyed the area of island and if necessary, the authority will relocate many families in the island to another proper places.

Ref: Narinjara

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