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Mizzima: Prawn breeding business ef

Prawn breeding business effects environment in Rekhine State of Burma

Dhaka, November 10, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

In Taungkok town of Rekhine State of Burma, people are facing with
drinking water shortage problem as the brine-prawn breeding ponds in the
township make the water salty. The salty water from the prawn
breeding-ponds instill into the wells, gardens and farms, especially in
the area of ?Patin Kyun? Island and therefore plants cannot be grown any
longer on the island.
A few months ago, Taungkok-based 544 and 346 infantry regiments of
Burmese military forced the villagers of ?Nat Maw? and ?Kalain Pyin? to
dig up for the military-owned prawn breeding business in ?Zeepinyin?
village and ?Kalain Taung? village without giving any wages. Moreover,
the rich people from nine villages of ?Patin Kyun? are also widely
working with this profitable brine-prawn breeding business.

Although the suffering villagers had been repeatedly reporting these
problems to the concerned township authorities, there was no concrete
action taken on their complaints. Recently, the authorities came and
inspected the prawn breeding sites in the area and directed to reduce
the briny water through water canals. But as the prawn owners bribed the
authorities, nothing has come to the better condition yet. The villagers
from ?Kan Pyin? village in ?Patin Kyun? are therefore planning to
migrate to other villages.

Moreover, ?Ngamun Daing?-based Burmese military units in ?Patin Kyun?
recently forced the villagers from nine villages to dig up the ponds
without providing wages for over two months and forced them to sign the
paper which says that their work was voluntary.

Rekhine State is estimated to have over seventy thousand acres of prawn
breeding areas and said to be the largest prawn breeding state in the
whole Burma.