Government approves seizure of over 950,000 acres of unused land

The government has approved the seizure of more than 950,000 acres of unused vacant, fallow and virgin land that had been leased to private entities for agriculture, breeding and mining, a senior agriculture official said on Wednesday.

U Myo Tint Tun, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, said when these lands were leased, it was stipulated that they should be put to use within four years.

“Some have been left without improvements for more than four years, while some have been left unused for about ten years. That’s why we’re seizing this land,” he said.

U Kyaw Lin, deputy minister of Construction, told the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) on Tuesday that it had approved the seizure of more than 950,000 acres that have been left unused.

“A total of 954,346.11 acres will be appropriated,” he said. “We submitted a list by state and region and the Myanmar government approved it.”

Some leases were revoked as the businessmen failed to make use of the land, while others were voluntarily returned by the lessees.

“Some already have squatters occupying the land, which makes things complicated,” U Kyaw Lin said.

Legislators said that many of the businesses leased the land hoping to lease it for more money if new development came to the area.

“The main thing is to indentify misuse and monopoly of these lands and arrange it so that people can settle there,” said Daw Mar Mar Khine, Lower House MP for Thaton township.

A Nay Pyi Taw livestock owner, however, said that most of the leased land was in remote places, and while the leases were cheap, businessmen had difficulties opening businesses there.

“The roads are not good and there is no water supply. We had to arrange these first, and then we got into trouble with the traditional owners when we started businesses there,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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