Maungdaw, Arakan State: Farmers in Maungdaw Township, are finding it difficult to cultivate their farmlands as monsoon season going late and the farmers can’t able to plough their lands which was released lately by the TPDC Chairman of Maungdaw Township,  were earlier confiscated from the farmers, according to one of the farmers from Maungdaw North.
In May 2009, over 200 acres of arable land from Kawarbill village tract of Maungdaw Township was seized by the Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) Chairman from Rohingya farmers for Natala (Model) villagers, who were brought to Arakan North from Burma proper.

The Natala villagers didn’t want to cultivate the farm lands and wanted to lease the lands to the Rohingya which were confiscated from Rohingya by the TPDC. But, the Rohingya refused to take lease their lands again, said an aide from TPDC.

Finally, the TPDC Chairman returned the confiscated lands to the original Rohingya owners on July 23, to grow paddy. But, the Chairman did not say anything regarding the lands, said a local trader.

A farmer from Kawarbill (Kyigan Pyin) village tract, who did not mention his name said, “This year, the monsoons have been late, so we need to work in our farmlands to terminate cultivation as early as possible, as it is already late.”

Another farmer said, “We have to till the lands and also have to prepare seed-beds for seedlings. It will take at least one month. If the rainy season lasts for the next two months, it will be good for farmers; otherwise the paddy cultivation will not be successful.

From other part of Arakan state, the Kyauktaw, Docktaw based Military Operation Command (MOC) 9 ordered the township command; Kyauktaw, Phonagyun, Mrauk U, Rathedaung, Akyab, Kyaukpru and Minbya to provide workforce (the military calls it people force) of farmers for the army farmlands for cultivation first where the farmers faced difficult to cultivate their lands as the monsoon has been late, said a village head man from Kyaukpru.

“The concerned authorities in Arakan North do not want to see the graciousness of the public; they always try to cause them inconvenience. Is this the nature of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) authorities, or are they really autocrats,” asked a schoolteacher.

The concerned authorities such as--- Army, Sarapa (Military Intelligence), Nasaka (Burma’s border security force), police, TPDC, DPDC (District Peace and Development Council) and TOC (Tactical Operation Command) --- have been seizing Rohingya lands without any reason and compensating the land owners,  for sometime now, said a local businessman