MPs Investigate Validity of Coffee, Mulberry and Teak Plantations

In the past, forest lands in the Pyin Oo Lwin township of the Mandalay region had been taken over by military officials, retired civil servants, and entrepreneurs, to plant coffee, mulberry and teak.

However no one actually knows whether these things were actually carried out. Therefore, some 15 Hluttaw members got together to lead the fieldwork investigation team to inspect the lands. The team completed their investigations on May 21.

The results obtained by the team will be submitted sequentially from the Regional Hluttaw to the Union level, and the investigative team’s analysis will also be submitted, said the MP team leader.

“Fieldwork investigations were completed on May 21. On 25 and 26, when the team members meet again, we will write the report. We are going to write a thorough report that details the reality of what’s happening on the ground, and submit that to the regional government. Our team of 15 MPs were divided into three groups to perform inspections. During last week’s inspections, we found that the lands that had been seized to plant coffee have nothing planted at all.” said a member of the Investigative Team and MP of Chanmyathazi township, constituency no(2), U Myint Aung Moe.

The investigation findings reveal that the lands were not used for plantations purposes, but rather they were resold, occupied in advance by others, and had houses built on them for residential purposes, he said.

On the third day of the third regular session of the second Mandalay Region Hluttaw Meeting held on May 22, 2016, U Aung Min from constituency no (1) of Pyin Oo Lwin township said, “The Forest Department has given out many acres of lands to private hands with the intention of planting coffee, mulberry, and long lifespan trees, and has also enforced that those who illegally sell or transfer and sell these lands will be severely charged”. This statement was submitted, the Hluttaw’s approval was obtained, and an investigation team consisting of 15 MPs were formed; these findings were obtained from the team’s inspection.

The Investigation Team took three months to complete their inspection, and there were plans to do further inspections at Madaya township of Pyin Oo Lwin district, said team member and MP of constituency no(2) of Pyigyidagun township, U Zaw Maung (alias) U Zaw Maung Maung.

“It has been three months since our team started inspections. We’ve found that the lands were taken by individuals who held high positions during the previous government. There are many lands that were demarcated and sold. If the farmers were to obtain work permits on these lands and do things according to the correct procedures and actual plantations; then surely, agricultural development will be strengthened and there will definitely be an increase in the national income,” stated U Zaw Maung.

The Investigation Team of 15 members was separated into three groups: the coffee inspection team, mulberry inspection team, and long lifespan teak inspection team. During inspections, it was found that some entrepreneurs started plantations, said team leader and MP of Pyin Oo Lwin Township, U Aung Min.

“As the forest lands were given out [by the Forest Department], 75pc [of those who received the lands] were found not following plantation guidelines. Most of them were either military officials, or retired civil servants. It is not in accordance with the law. 80pc of it [the lands] has gone through sale and purchase. There are also many acres of land obtained by one person. Major-General Tin Ngwe owns more than a thousand acres. If we add all the lands, then it would add up to a hundred thousand acres. We are going to put pressure so that a decision can be made depending on the condition of the report submitted,” U Aung Min told The Myanmar Times.


Source: The Myanmar Times

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