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Businesses misusing farmland face hefty fines, warns minister

The government will punish people and companies that use farmland for purposes other than growing crops with a fine of 30 percent of the land’s market value.

The government-led Leading Committee for Farmers Rights, Protection and Promoting of Interests set the penalty at a meeting earlier this month, said U Aung Thu, committee secretary and minister of Agriculture, Livestock Breeding and Irrigation.

“The fine will be 30pc of the local market price,” he said. “That means if the land is worth K100 million (US$65,250), the fine will be K30 million,” he said.

U Myo Tint Tun, deputy permanent secretary of the ministry, said many businesses are using farmland for commercial purposes without applying for permits.

“Some people operate business before applying for permission. Some open fuel stations and think they can apply later. Such illegal operations will be fined,” U Myo Tint Tun said.

He said some businesses use farmland to open private schools or to subdivide into smaller plots for sale, according to U Myo Tint Tun.

The regional market price of land for every region and state, including Nay Pyi Taw, has been published, according to U Aung Thu.

He added that State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint support the penalty.

He said that while the State Counsellor does not permit the demolition of illegal structures built on farmland, the President has allowed such action to serve as a warning to other violators.

Those who use farmland for other agricultural purposes such as fish farms will be fined K30,000, according to U Myo Tint Tun.

Vice President U Henry Van Thio, who heads the committee, warned that using farmland for purposes other than growing crops can affect the country’s food security.

SOURCE: MYANMAR TIMES

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