Failing to find a sympathetic ear in the Shan State government office, 150 farmers have taken their land complaints to the state Hluttaw instead.
The farmers, from seven southern Shan State townships, met with the Shan State Hluttaw’s Complaint Scrutiny Committee at a monastery in Taunggyi on August 29.
“If the [Shan] State government would earnestly address the farmers’ complaints, many cases could be solved. But the government doesn’t allot time for the complaints, or conduct field trips,” said U Tin Maung Toe, a member of the Shan State Political Group, a loose affiliation of Shan-based organizations which put together the meeting with the Hluttaw committee.
He added that more than 40 complaints about land confiscation were submitted to the complaint scrutiny committee. The cases span seven townships – Taunggyi, Nyaungshwe, Hopone, Pindaya, Ywarngan, Kalaw and Hsi Hsai – but almost all of them involve armed forces, private companies, or government departments accused of confiscating the land.
Ko Maung Aye, from Nyo Mee Village in Taunggyi, said he is one of several farmers caught up in a land grab cases involving 1,700 acres of contested land claimed by the Pa-O National Organization (PNO).
“They [the PNO] have sold a lot [of the land]. We didn’t receive compensation. Now, we heard that over 100 acres have been sold to a company. Over 40 acres of my land have been confiscated. I want them to return the land to its rightful owners,” he said.
Shan State Hluttaw MP Sai Lon from Namhsan township and MP Sai Moe Myint from Moe-ne/Mong Nai township attended the meeting and recorded the famers’ complaints.