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20 Okt 2022

YAN NAING, The Irrawaddy

Myanmar: China-backed Kyaukphyu port leaves doubts over land acquisition and job prospects

"China-backed Port in Western Myanmar Depriving Locals of Land and Jobs" 13 September 2022

Despite the efforts of Myanmar’s military regime to expedite the development of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (KPSEZ) and deep sea port in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the project is facing significant delays due to local protests and the impact of last year’s coup. [...]

China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) inked a framework agreement with the KPSEZ Management Committee in November 2018 for the development of the SEZ. [...]

While there has been no development as yet of the KPSEZ, junta-controlled agencies are working to seize 250 acres of land in the proposed industrial zone. The land belongs to more than 70 local farmers from four village tracts, and many of them are opposed to the compulsory acquisition of their land.

A few of the farmers have alleged that dubious legal documents purporting to show that their land is held by other owners are being used to try and seize their land. [...]

Local fisher folk have seen their livelihoods endangered by the Shwe gas field and pipeline, which saw no-fishing zones created and resulted in a scarcity of fish. The situation is most severe on Maday Island, where oil and gas is stored and the movement of tankers prevents fishing.

Nor has the gas field and pipeline created alternative jobs for locals. Residents were promised employment by the companies involved, but they now allege that they are not even allowed to walk past the oil and gas terminals. [...]