LIB 209 plans to confiscate paddy lands

October 12th, 2010

Jaloon Htaw : Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 209, based in Kamawet village, in Mon State’s Mudon Township, is preparing to confiscate 80 acres of rice paddy lands from local farmers.

According to IMNA’s field reporter, LIB No. 209 plans to confiscate a total of 50 combined acres of paddy lands from eight farmers in Doemar village, Mudon Township and over 30 combined acres from seven farmers in Kwan Hlar village, Mudon Township. The battalion allegedly wants to turn the confiscated lands into blocked-off sections of military owned lands before the 2010 elections.

Residents of the two villages explained that LIB No. 209 has ordered the headmen of Doemar village and Kwan Hlar village multiple times to inform the farmers in question that their lands will be confiscated; the two headmen in are reportedly unwilling to become agents of the battalion.

“They [the battalion] have told me four or five times [to tell the farmers their lands are being confiscated]. If they want, they can say to the farm owners directly. Now they haven’t said anything to them. I don’t want to do like that” an associate said on behalf of one of the villages’ headmen.

According to a villager from one of the two villages, the paddy lands to be confiscated previously were used to grow both rainy season paddies and summer season paddies on an annual basis. However, at the moment many of these paddy fields have become overgrown with weeds and grasses, and are not being used to grow rice, leading to LIB No. 209’s interest in confiscating the area.

The owner of some of the to-be-confiscated farmland told IMNA’s field reporter that losing any part of his land will deal a huge blow to his livelihood.

“Even if the land is bad, we can’t give it over to the army.  Not all of it [the land to be confiscated] is overgrown, and some of it can be used to grow food to eat,” he explained.

A Mudon Township resident speculated that LIB No. 209 plans to confiscate the land before Burma’s November elections, and then later resell it. Continue reading “LIB 209 plans to confiscate paddy lands”