Forced relocation, company compensation falls short of replacing village lands

Villagers in the Nabule area will be forced to leave their homes, in April, to make way for construction work related to the mega-project, the $60 billion Dawei deep-sea port project.

Residents of Mu Do village in Nabule area, Tenasserim Division, will be have to leave their homes before the annual Water Festival [Atar Thingyan], on April 13. The Italian-Thai Development Company (ITD) will begin construction work related to the Dawei deep-sea port project during the annual water festival. According to local sources, no arrangements have been made by the company to compensate villagers for the loss of their land or homes.

Mu Do villagers, allege that organisers, responsible for the relocation of the villagers, came to Mu Do village on February 21 and informed villagers that they had to move to the Bawah relocation site before this year’s Water Festival [Atar Thingyan].

Speaking to Karen News, a Nabule resident, U Aung Myint said.

“Now, the whole village has to move, even we don’t want to. They [the company] only provided new land for housing, but there are no garden lands that we need for our plantations – it is very expensive to buy to replace our old land. That’s why we want our lands compensated at the current market prices.”

U Aung Myint added that the ITD Company had only paid 500,000 to 2,500,000 kyats for one acre of cultivated or plantation land in Mu Do village. In the Bawah relocation site, villagers have to buy land from the government at 10,000,000, to 15,000,000 kyats for one acre.

There are around 545 households in Mu Do village and the villagers make a living on seasonable and perennial plantations, including rubber, coconuts and cashew nuts.

U Aung Myint said that the ITD Company only paid 90,000 kyats compensation for large plantations, 70,000 kyats for medium-sized plantations, and 30,000 kyats for small ones.

U Aung Myint explained that the compensation paid by the company for their plantations falls short of what villagers need to replace their land.
“The compensation paid is just for plantations. We still need to buy from the land administrators. We can do nothing, we have to move even we don’t want to be relocated. We dare not complain, we are not knowledgeable or educated about these issues.”

Residents from Mayin Gyi, Mu Do, Htein Gyi, Lae Shaung, Payadat villages, as well as nearby villages in the Nabule area are being forced to relocate to make way for the deep-sea port project.

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