Farmers Plan to Sue Govt Departments Over Event Cancellation

By Zarni Mann 16 May 2017

MANDALAY — Farmers set to discuss land rights at Pyin Oo Lwin City Hall today are planning to sue the township and divisional departments for what organizers said was canceling permission to use the city hall the night before the event.

About 1,000 farmers from Mandalay and Pyin Oo Lwin District were due to discuss issues including land grabs with Mandalay Divisional Farmers’ affairs negotiation committee this morning at the hall.

But U Hla Myo, the general administration officer for Pyin Oo Lwin’s municipal department, told the organizers last night they needed to apply for a permit for the gathering to go ahead.

“We feel that our rights have been abused,” said U Sai Kyaw Aye, one of the organizers. “Since they’ve cancelled us in the last minutes, we’ve lost about 10 million kyats, which we deposited for food, accommodation and transportation.

“We do not want the money back; we just want our rights respected,” he added.

The organizers said they would file lawsuits against the Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) and Pyin Oo Lwin Township municipal department.

“Since Pyin Oo Lwin City Hall is under the administration of the MCDC, we believe they are responsible, so we will sue them, too,” added U Sai Kyaw Aye.

The organizers said they were briefly shown the cancellation letter at the township’s municipal office. The general administration officer of Pyin Oo Lwin had signed the letter, they added.

As citizens, the farmers did not need to apply for a permit to use the city hall, argued the organizers. They planned to discuss land rights issues, which farmers in the area have endured for decades.

The township’s general administration officer U Hla Myo said: “I just sent a notice saying they needed to apply for a permit in accordance with the law and not canceling the event. I do not have the authority to cancel such an event.”