Govt Collects Data to Potentially Return IDPs’ Farmland in Bhamo District

By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Friday, December 20, 2019

Government authorities collected family registration lists and land data to eventually redesignate farmland for more than 100 families in Kachin State’s Bhamo District who have returned from internally displaced people’s (IDP) camps.

According to villagers, staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation recently came to Mung Deinpa village in Mansi Township and gathered information from 700 people representing 114 families. They returned to their community in May from multiple camps; some have yet to come back home.

“They came to collect land data. We already transferred the data. I don’t know what they are going to do,” Mung Deinpa local Mayaw Brang Mai told NMG. “Now is just the data collection stage. I don’t know when they are going to implement this plan. We will know the situation when they visit again next year.”

Locals began fleeing their homes in 2011 after a 17-year ceasefire between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army broke down and clashes resumed. By October 2013, all of the residents of Mung Deinpa had left their homes. Since then, their farmland has been designated “vacant, fallow or virgin land” by Burma’s land management law of the same name.

“We want to get our farmland back, which now belongs to the protected forest area. Some villagers are working on available farmland,” a Mung Deinpa villager told NMG, adding that they have been waiting for the authorities to step in and assist them. In the meantime, they have been working with civil society organizations and land activists to advance their case.

State parliament representative for Mansi Township Min Min asked about the issue of redesignating farmland for Mung Deinpa’s recently returned villagers in the 17th Kachin State parliament meeting on December 16.

Kachin State agriculture minister Kyaw Kyaw Win responded by saying that his ministry is observing the situation at the ground level and collecting data on land ownership. The government reportedly aims to redesignate the farmland and paddy fields in the area during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.