ITD boycott brings compensation

Local people from Kaw Htee Lor (Thebyu Chaung) village along with five other villages are angry that the Italian-Thai Development Company (ITD) is refusing to pay compensation to people whose plantations have been destroyed by the ITD road construction.

Karen News reporters attended the meeting between ITD officials and local villagers in Kaw Htee Lor village on March 30. The meeting was intended to be between the ITD’s Social Impact Assessment team from the Environmental Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University (ERIC) and local villagers to discuss peoples’ concerns the construction would have on their lives.

Before the meeting with the ERIC SIA team and local villagers could start it was interrupted by an officer from ITD demanding local villagers provide ownership documents for their plantation. After an heated exchange between the official and villagers the meeting was abandoned.

Saw Ku, who was present at the meeting told Karen News.

“The company told us many times that they will pay us compensation, but they keep on refusing to pay us. Every time they arrange a meeting with us, they demand of us our documents to prove that we own our plantations.”

Saw Ku claims the company (ITD) has not been sincere in their discussions with villagers.

“They never keep their promises, they do not treat us with respect and they lie to us time after time. They don’t even ask permission of us when they build the road on our properties.”

Saw Ku says villagers have had enough of ITD failing to keep to their agreed positions.

“We don’t welcome them in our village if they treat us like this.”

At the time of writing the villagers say they achieved a breakthrough. The day after villagers refused to meet with ITD, the following day, ITD agreed to compensate 19 villagers whose plantations were demolished to make way for the road construction between Myitta and Thebyu Chaung village, east of Tavoy.

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