Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – About 150 Burmese families who have lived on army land with permission in the Three Pagoda Pass area will be forced to move from their homes by Nov. 1, according to residents.
|Three Pagodas Pass, a border checkpoint between Thailand and Burma Photo: joaquinuy / flickr|
An estimated 800 people who are ex-servicemen, family members of civil servants or families of deceased servicemen are now living on the land, said residents.
The ward administrative office said that it would relocate the families to land at the foot of “Kyauktaung” hill [west of the Myopat Road], but the families must buy the land with prices ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 baht. Most families say they cannot afford to buy the land.
“All the people living there are poor, so it’s impossible that they can buy land plots at other places,” said a civil servant living in the township.
A woman said, “We don’t even have 1,000 baht. So, how can we buy land? Will we have to stay at a refugee camp?”
Authorities did not explain the order to move from the land.
However, residents said the order could be related to an industrial zone that will be set up in Three Pagoda Pass and the rebuilding of the “Death Railway” from World War II, which is scheduled to be upgraded to attract tourists to the area. Because of these projects, real estate prices in Three Pagoda Pass have sharply increased, residents said.
Meanwhile, the regional development group and local authorities have jointly bought land plots in strategic areas, according to local sources.
Earlier, the price of a land plot 40 feet x 60 feet on the outskirts of the town ranged from 70,000 to 100,000 baht. But, since the Union government agreed to a cease-fire with the New Mon State Party and the Karen National Union, the prices have ranged from 300,000 to 400,000 baht.
On July 1, Railway Minister Aung Min told the media in Naypyitaw that surveys would be started in order to start work on rebuilding the “Death Railway” after the monsoon.