The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has pledged to pay compensation to locals in Mong Pawk whose lands were confiscated during the construction of a development project in the eastern Shan State town.
According to an UWSA official, the decision to financially recompense the villagers was taken at a meeting last week headed by Pawk Aik Pan, commander of UWSA Brigade 468. It was agreed that all previous owners of land, houses and rice fields that were seized would be compensated.
The UWSA say they will pay 3,500 yuan ($US525) for each mu (Chinese measurement equivalent to 1.647 acres) of confiscated land. They have also offered to set up electricity and water facilities for the affected villagers.
The new town development project in Mong Pawk required the clearance of about 3,000 acres of land, according to Ar Pong, a UWSA battalion commander in Mong Pawk, speaking to Shan Herald last month.
Aik Nub, a UWSA official who attended last week’s meeting, confirmed yesterday to Shan Herald that the compensation had been agreed, but could not say exactly when the payments would be made.
The land and buildings of 32 households in an ethnic Lahu village named Jadawkhar were among those confiscated.
“If we sold our land we would get 70,000-100,000 yuan per mu,” said Nar Wee, a resident who was forced out. “But they will only pay us 3,000-3,500 yuan. Then we’ll have to rebuild our homes by ourselves – but not in the new town. We will have to build near the forest or the mountain which is far from the town.”
The new town project was started in July by the UWSA, which is arguably the strongest ethnic armed group in Burma with a troop strength of up to 30,000.
The UWSA has signed bilateral accords with the government; however it declined to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with President Thein Sein’s administration in October 2015.
-- By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)