Myanmar military to return 18,000 acres of confiscated land

Updated: 2013-07-19 14:44

( Media Group)

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The Myanmar military will return over 18,000 acres of confiscated farmlands to their original owners

The Myanmar military will return over 18,000 acres of confiscated farmlands to their original owners, according to the Minister of Defence.

He told Myanmar's parliament on Tuesday that the commander-in-chief of defence service himself has instructed the military to return unused farmlands which are located outside military bases.

"Rather than using defence and security as reasons in [confiscating lands] by force, the military will give special consideration for the convenience of the farmers and ensure fairness to them in order for them to have life guarantee," said Minister of Defence, Lieutenant-General Wai Lwin.

He told parliament that protecting public interest is a way of carrying out their duty to the country.

"We believe that returning the farmlands back to the public is a way of protecting public interest even though we are not carrying arms. On the other hand, it is important not to harm future tasks, projects, and duties of the military. We will ensure fairness for both sides," he said.

According to the minister, the military has been investigating land confiscation cases even before the farmland investigation commission sent them the complaint letters it has received from farmers.

While a total of 448 complaint letters have been sent to the Ministry of Defence Service, the ministry cannot directly handle the issue of 9,436 acres of land referred to in 98 letters as they need to coordinate with the authorities and other ministries.

He also said the military will not return 51,506 acres of land referred in 140 letters as they are part of military bases and buildings have already been set up on them.

The military will, however, allow farmers to cultivate on 15,713 acres on unused lands that fall under the military property without collecting crop share rent.

The commander-in-chief of defence service has also instructed the military to return the lands back to the farmers who have submitted rental fees for the lands which are used for military welfare and negotiate with farmers to share the profits gained from joint ventures on the lands.