Thu 19 Sep 2013
Filed under: Human Rights,Inside Burma,News
The government held a meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday to discuss land confiscation cases included the report from the parliamentary Farmland Investigation Commission. It has promised to solve these issues within a year.
During the meeting, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Myint Hlaing said that the government must solve farmland and other land confiscation issues in accordance with the law, in order to protect the public interest.
“There have been 565 complaint letters related to the Ministry of Defence Service and 63 complaint letters about lands that were confiscated due to the expansion of urban areas and industrial zones,” said Myint Hlaing, adding that farmlands have also been confiscated after the privatisation of agricultural and animal husbandry projects.
“There have also been 117 complaint letters regarding lands that were confiscated due to expansion of railways, motorways, and airports, or the construction of state-owned factories and workshops. There are 745 cases that have occurred since the previous administrations,” he said.
“The Farmland Management Committee and government organisations from respective states and regions have to solve these issues.”
The report from the parliamentary committee covers cases that have occurred since the administration of the Union Revolutionary Council as far back as 1962. Various ministries, including the Ministry of Defence Service, and private companies are involved in the land confiscation so evidence is needed to solve these cases, Myint Hlaing said.
He added that a discussion will be held regarding what actions might be taken against private companies and persons who obtained virgin lands from the government but have not used them for business.
According to the parliamentary commission’s report, the military land grabs have been most controversial in Mandalay Region and Mon State, from whence the commission received 156 and 144 complaint letters, respectively.
The Minister of Defence told parliament in July that the military will return more than 18,000 acres of confiscated farmlands to their original owners.