Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Latpadaung farmers disagree over compensation

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 12:32 Khaing Khaing

Farmers in the area surrounding the Latpadaung copper mine have told Mizzima that they have had to accept compensation for their seized farms because of waste earth dumped on their lands; however, some farmers have refused to accept the amount of compensation offered.

Latpadaung copper mine site. [Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima]

“We cannot work on our farmland after they dumped the waste earth from the copper mine production, so we might as well accept their compensation,” said Naing, a farmer who lives in the village closest to the site.

Myint Naing, another local villager, explained that they received 1 million kyat (US$1,130) per acre as compensation and that the villagers from this village cannot work on their farmlands anymore after their lands were bulldozed.

“First, they said the compensation would be 500,000 kyat per acre ($565) but they paid actually 1 million kyat ($1,130). More than 50 farmers from our village accepted this compensation with full satisfaction. We don’t know yet what the remaining 20 farmers will do,” said Myint Naing.

Myint Myint Aye from Mogyopyin north village said that they did not accept this compensation money for their farmlands as they are still protesting against the copper mine project.

“The compensation money has been issued in our village since March 17, but the villagers will not accept it,” she said.

Aye Aye Khaing from new Tone village said that they could not accept the compensation as it was much lower than the current market price of 4 million kyat ($4,545).

“We have not accepted this money since we have not yet signed the agreement with Wanbao and the compensation amount is too low,” she said.

On March 19, state-run newspaper The New Light of Myanmar reported that the land compensation for seized farmlands had been issued to the villagers in the copper mine project area, with 335.1 million kyat ($380,000) paid to 111 farmers in Phaungkatar and Ywashe villages on March 17, and that 559.8 million kyat ($635,568) had been paid to 163 farmers between March 16-17.

Myint Naing said that bank branches of Myanmar Economic Bank, Myawaddy Bank and Yoma Bank were reportedly opened for depositing compensation money but that he had not seen the banks yet.
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