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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Daewoo Fails to Compensate for Damaged Farms in Arakan

Kyaukpru: Farmers in Arakan State have not yet received compensation from Korea's Daewoo Company, even though their freehold lands have been widely damaged by a Daewoo project, said farmers in the area.

Damaged-farms-in-Kyauk-Pru-Arakan-stateThe damaged farms in Ma La Kyunt village by Daewoo ( Photo by Narinjara)
"Over 40 acres of our paddy farms can not be cultivated because the farms are totally covered in a deep mire that flowed from the Daewoo construction site. We have demanded Daewoo compensate us for our land but there has not been any response," said an elder farmer from the village.

The damaged farms are located at the foot of Kin Pyunt Hill in Ma La Kyunt Village ten miles east of Kyauk Pru, the main area in Arakan where the oil and gas project is being staged.

"Daewoo started the project at the hill in 2010. Since then, the company bulldozed the hill to construct some buildings, and most of our paddy farms have been damaged by the deep mud during this rainy season," the farmer said.

Farmers in the village complained to Daewoo officials just after the mud hit the farms from the mountain, but the officials neglected the farmers' complaints. The farms were then so completely covered by deep mud in the rainy season that no crops can be cultivated, local sources said.

The freehold lands belong to nearly 10 people, including Maung Wai Khin, Ma Khin Kyi, U Thein Mg, U Htay Nu, Daw Wai Kyin Ma, and U Sein Chay from Mala Kyunt Village.

A female teacher from the village also said that Daewoo officers agreed to compensate for the land but have not yet taken any action to do so.

"We have asked the authority of Daewoo whether they will compensate or not for the land. If they continue to neglect the request, we are going to complain to high authorities. Because the farmers in our village facing big problems for their family survival after their farms were damaged for the Daewoo project," the teacher said.

According to a local villager source, the farmers used to cultivate vegetables like peas, chili, tomato, and eggplants at the farms during the dry season, but the farmers could not cultivate the land this year due to damage caused by Daewoo.

An official from the survey department in Kyauk Pru confirmed the farmlands were damaged by the deep mud from Daewoo construction sites, and reported that is field No. 457 located five miles north of Ma La Kyunt Village under Lake Ka Maw Village Tract in Kyauk Pru Township.

Daewoo is the primary foreign company undertaking the Shwe Gas project in Arakan, and it signed a production sharing deal with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise in August 2000. The Shwe gas field was discovered in December 2003, and the deal guarantees the South Korean company a share of the income from sales of the natural gas.

Daewoo International, the Korea Gas Corporation, and two state-run Indian companies - Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Gas Authority Limited - are the major foreign investors in the project.

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