Dawei residents have threatened to resume cultivation in farmlands around the Dawei – Kanchanaburi highway construction project area if their demand for compensation is not met by September end.
U Tin Hlaing, Chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Dawei Township said, “They have not clarified when they will pay compensation again. Therefore, the farmers feel it will be best to re-possess their seized farmlands.”
Thai construction giant Italian-Thai Development PCL (ITD) confiscated farmlands in 2012 to construct the Dawei – Kanchanaburi highway that will link Myanmar and Thailand. They had pledged to compensate land owners in 20 villages along the highway.
Since 2010 ITD has paid compensation 111 times but they have not compensated residents for seized farmlands in villages within Kha Maung Thwel township, namely, Myittar, Ka Htaung Ni, Ka Let Kyi, Thabyu Choung, Pyin Thar Taw, Yay Poke and Thit Katoe.
“We will send a notification letter to ITD for a meeting on the issue to be held on September 28. The residents are ready to meet company officials”, said Ko Thant Zin, member of the Dawei Development Association (DDA).
The DDA conducts programs to provide purified drinking water to residents facing scarcity of potable water since natural streams in the project area have been damaged by the construction. They are also seeking compensation for land rendered useless by sewage from the highway construction.
U Ye, one of the land owners told Mizzima that 38 land owners from the 7 villages will take up actions in line with a decision made by residents, if the issue is not addressed by the end of September.
The ITD has invested USD 8.6 billion in the Dawei deep sea port project and they are constructing electric industries, steel industries, oil purification factories, railway tracks and highways that are essential to the project.