Farmers in the Mann oilfield area in Minbu Township, Magway Region staged a protest yesterday over alleged failures by the authorities in correctly offering compensation for land seized decades ago.
Sann Aung, local resident of Auk Kyaung village in Minbu Township, who led ths demonstration said, “We stage this demonstration to let the public and the officials concerned know the grievances our farmers suffered.”
About 60 farmers joined this demonstration held in front of Mann Oilfield Combined Office and Township Land Records Office by holding vinyl posters with slogans.
The slogans included ‘Give compensation to all farmlands seized in Mann Oilfield’, ‘Don’t set up boundary demarcation pillar in oilfield before giving full payment of compensation’, and ‘Immediately give land record form for ownership of land after they are surrendered by the oilfield’.
Sann Aung explained that the Mann oilfield started the work of exploration and digging oil wells in 1969 on the farmland.
The land was seized by the then 1953-63 Land Acquisition Laws. And then under the new land law enacted in 2012, the farmers have a right to reclaim their lands. The farmers demanded their rights granted by this law and then compensations were given to about 800 farmers on 18 March 2016 but over 100 rightful owners of this land was not included on this list, he said.
He alleged that the rightful owners suffered many grievances because of corruption and wrongdoing by Land Record Office officials, inserting bogus farmers in the names of rightful owners for paying compensation.
“We presented these wrongdoings to the officials concerned at different levels but the rightful owners of this farmland have not yet received compensation until today. So we stage our demonstration today,” Sann Aung added.
The protesters said that land seized for each oilfield was 1.92 acres but the compensation was paid only for 1.69 acres and also the making of payments was delayed for a long period.
The protesters took permission from Minbu District Police Station in accordance with the law for their demonstration and they marched in procession and chanted slogans at the demonstration.