The land, taken in 1996, was allocated for coal mining and later transferred to the state; farmers are demanding it be returned to them.
Land owners, village headmen and parliamentarians held a meeting in southern Shan State’s Kesi Township to discuss measuring and reclaiming 5,000 acres seized by the Burmese military more than 20 years ago.
The meeting of 200 locals was held at Mong Kawng monastery in the Kesi village tract by the same name on Tuesday morning. It was also attended by representatives from the township administration, land, agriculture, planning, and forest departments, and the chairman of the municipal committee and members of the land investigation committee.
In 1996, the Kesi-based Infantry Battalion 131 took 5,459 acres of paddy fields, grazing grounds, and religious lands, later allowing a coal mining to operate there in 2009. The land was transferred to the state last year. Locals took steps to reclaim it following an announcement that it is set to be transferred to the No. 2 Pang Pet steel factory.
According to state MP Sai San Mueng—of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy—local people will reclaim the lost land through parliamentary procedures following the completion of a measuring and surveying process.
“We asked the local people. We discussed it. We agreed to re-measure the land plots. With the help of Kesi Township’s land department, we will kick off the measuring of the land plots on November 10 and collect data,” Sai San Mueng explained. The work will begin the villages of Maik Home Lane, Nawng Hee, Som Mawng, Maik Home Cho.
The parliamentarian urged locals to participate in the process so that those involved would get “the right data.” Sai San Mueng said that the land department’s report would be dependent on data gathered in the field, which he will then bring to parliament.
Locals have not been allowed to work on their land near the coal mining area in recent years, and now will demand it be returned to them through collaboration with local parliamentarians.