Over ten thousand Shan farmers have gathered in Mong Nai township, southern Shan State, requesting the protection of the environment and natural resources in Shan State.
According to Sai Bee, a resident of Mongnai, Shan farmers across Shan State held an event on May 2 in Yae Loi Jak Daw village, Nar Karn sub-district, Mongnai township. The purpose of the event was to exchange ideas and discuss important issues in different areas and find ways to solve problems.
“The main issues we discussed include gold mining in Monglen, the gas pipeline, road construction in Kunlong-Hsenwi townships and land confiscation,” said Sai Bee.
Sai Maung Gyi, a Mongnai township MP for Constituency # 2 said residents have faced a lot of problems since investment entered Mongnai township. Many citizens’ farmlands have been seized, many precious heritage sites have been destroyed, and drugs have also become widespread. The rivers which residents use for drinking and irrigating farmland have been damaged.
“Over 1,000 acres of local people’s land have been seized by a militia group and investment companies. What’s more, Shwe Lin Yone Company, which is backed by MTA Shwe Pyi Aye, has seized over 5,000 acres of village land. But until now no project has been implemented on the land. They have just left it empty,” said Sai Maung Gyi.
“We have called on the government many times to take action on this issue, but nothing has been done,” he added.
Nang Lar, an environmental activist in Monglen, Tar-ler sub-township, said: “We have been fighting against gold mining operations in the Monglen area. We demanded an end to their operations as well as full compensation for all losses and restoration of waterways and lands to their former state. But there has been no satisfactory response.”
“So we will continue fighting against any group that destroys our environment, and we will protect our people’s rights,” she said.