Char Khan Villagers refuse to move until fair compensation is paid

Government authorities have applied pressure to 30 villagers in Cha Khan village who have refused to relocate, to make way for the construction of the Dawei deep-sea port. The villagers are refusing to move until they are given what they think is fair compensation.

According to local people,the 30 villagers from Cha Khan Village in Htein Gyi tract, Tenasserim Division were subjected to pressure by the local government authorities to relocate.

Ma Lwin Lwin, from the Tavoyan Women Association, a community based group who are monitoring the situation, spoke to Karen News.

“Some Cha Khan villagers have already been relocated after [they] accepted one million kyat and a bag of rice as compensation. There are now 30 villagers left, but they will accept relocation only when the authorities negotiate a fair amount of compensation.”

Local people claim that the local authorities pressure the Cha Khan villagers to move, but have failed to negotiate a different compensation package with the 30 villagers.

The official letter that is signed by the Htein Gyi village administration chief was issued on March 20 warning the 30 villagers that if they did not move out of the village, legal action would be taken and they would be charged under the Village Act Article 18 and Article 19. The official letter stated that it has the authority to destroy the houses and charge people who do not obey the law according to the Village Acts.

The 30 villagers have been living in Cha Khan for decades and make their living from fishing and salt farms.

Ma Lwin Lwin, from the Tavoyan Women Organization’s said.

“It is not that villagers are not moving out, they would be satisfied with a fair compensation of two million kyat and a house for them to live at Bawar Myothit [a relocation site]. The authorities have just ordered them to move and will not negotiate with them over the compensation.”

On January 2013, all the houses, except the 15 houses belonging to the 30 villagers, in Cha Khan village were bulldozed by the Italian-Thai Development Company (ITD) to make way for the Dawei deep-sea project.

The Italian-Thai Development Company (ITD) is a Thai owned company that is responsible for developing the $60billion Dawei Development Project. The Dawei Development Project includes a deep seaport, a light and heavy industrial zone, a coal-fired power plant and highways and railway links connecting Dawei to Kanchanaburi on the Thai border.

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