PLANS are underway to return 208 acres of confiscated land in Madaya township to its rightful owners, according to Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung.
The seized land plots are located near Yenantha Leper Hospital in Madaya township in Mandalay, with the chief minister saying that the vice president will be present at the handover ceremony as it is the first ceremony of its kind under the new government.
The plots of land were seized from 32 farmers and placed under the ownership of the Ministry of Health.
Further 1,100 acres are under scrutiny to return to farmers.
There are 25 official complaints of farmland confiscation in Madaya township.
The move comes after the chairman of the Central Review Committee on Confiscated Farmlands and Other Lands, Vice President U Henry Van Thio called for the quick resolution of farmland confiscation issues and for the speedy handover of abandoned farmlands to their lawful owners in May.
The committee held its first coordination meeting in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, with its chairman urging officials to set up task forces to deal with the return of seized land and with the economic impact land grabbing has had on farmers.
According to the vice president, private companies and government departments were granted permission to confiscate land, including farmland, under the pretext of urbanisation and industrialisation.
Land disputes resulted from lack of cooperation among land management bodies as well as from arguments between the government, landowners and investors over ownership and planning permissions.
At the meeting, Vice President U Henry Van Thio promised that the government would take speedy measures to enact comprehensible laws and procedures to return confiscated lands to their lawful owners after forming committees at different levels.
The committees are staffed with ministerial officials, local parliamentarians, town elders and farmers.
Aung Thant Khaing