Clogged Stream Dispute Leaves Karen State Officials with a Sensitive Problem and No Easy Outs

Karen State farmers have had enough of a silt-clogged stream preventing them from utilizing around 100 acres of paddy field for the past five years, according to a village administrator. With patience wearing thin, the residents of Taung Dee Village want their stream dredged and the upstream ditches removed.

“The stream has been silted up for around five years. Rice can’t be planted on over 100 acres of paddy fields, which depend on the stream,” Saw Hla Moe, the village administrator, told Karen News on December 3.

“The water does not flow to the paddy fields in the lower part of the stream because ditches have been built to channel the water to the paddy fields in the upper part of the stream,” he added.

With no other source of livelihood to depend on outside of farming, the residents of the Kay-in Seikgyi township are starting to get anxious.

U Yan Aung Soe from the Irrigation Department in Kawkareik District said the issue is a touchy one since it involves removing the irrigation system upstream, which could upset those farmers. Nevertheless, he said a dredging of the stream would be budgeted in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

“Around 17 ditches have been built in the stream. We don’t want to force [farmers to remove them] because it’s a traditional [technique],” he said.

The Mi Pa Yan Stream originates in the Taung Nyo Mountain west of Taung Dee Village and flows into Win Yaw Stream.

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