Burma Army soldiers (BA) have seized 28 acres of land in Taunggyi Township to build a railway line as part of regime leader Min Aung Hlaing’s plan to transport iron ore from Mingyan to Mandalay Region.
At a recent press conference, Nang Kyi, spokesperson for the Pa-O Youth Organisation (PYO), briefed the media on the regime’s aims to build a 15-mile railway line to the Pinpet Steel Mill in Nam Hse village tract in southern Shan State.
She said the joint venture between Russian-backed Tyazhpromexport and Myanmar Economic Corporation to reopen the mill, which was closed five years ago, has been in the works since May last year and that three companies are involved in reconstruction and expansion.
“As far as we know, this includes Shwe Min Tha Construction Co, but we do not know the other two companies yet,” she said.
Min Aung Hlaing reportedly said last year that they would be able to reduce reliance on foreign currency spending if the mill could be commissioned by schedule in the 2023-24 financial year.
PYO estimates that once it’s fully operational, it will negatively impact on 20,000 residents from 30 villages living near the mill. It will also devastate forests and local water sources. The group wants the regime stop all large investment projects that don’t benefit the local population.
According to PYO, the previous military regime confiscated more than 5,000 acres of land between 2004 and 2005 and more than 100 acres of land in 2010 to build the Pinpet Steel Mill.
“Many people have lost their farmland and are struggling to survive,” a farmer told SHAN, asking that his name not be mentioned for security reasons. He said that compensation for their confiscated land may help a little, but cannot replace the loss of their livelihoods.