Land seized and resold at a premium by headman in Karen State

Wed 07 Jan 2009, Asah, IMNA
A regime-appointed village headman in Karen State is reselling land after organizing road construction that significantly increased land values.

In December, the headman of Thanle village, Hpa-an Township, seized a swath of land to construct a half-mile long new road connecting the village to the Zarthapyin (Zathabyin ) to Myawaddy road.

According to villagers, no one raised any opposition because the headman, Nai Kyaw San, lead residents to believe that the road construction was a government-organized project. The construction work was carried out by government employees, who Nai Kyaw San hired away from road repairs on a nearby section of the Myawaddy road.

Nai Kyaw San then put 20 parcels of land up for sale on either side of the new road, which offers a shorter, more direct connection to the main road than the existing, circuitous route.

Land parcels are being sold for 6 kyat-tha, and descend in value to 5 and then 4 kyat-tha as their distance from the village extends. Kyat-tha are a Burmese measurement used to quantify prices in terms of gold, used by many villages in the area. According to a source in Thanle, 1 kyat-tha is currently equal to 460,000 kyat.

According to a woman from the village, six of the land parcels have already been sold.

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