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Ministry of Industry (1) tries but fails to evict shop owners

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The manager of the Myasandar ice factory which is owned by the Ministry of Industry (1) tried to forcibly evict 41 shop owners on land owned by the factory on Sunday in Prome in Pegu Division but was deterred by protests from shop owners and residents.

The shops are located in front od Pyay University on Thantachaung Road.

Factory manager Tint Lwin, a retired military officer, tried to forcibly remove the proprietors from the shops in the apartment buildings owned by the factory, saying that it was upon the  order of the ministry, but shop owners and others loudly protested.

The factory tried to evict the shop owners because they have refused to pay the new, higher rental fees, sources said.

‘The factory authorities said that it was an order of the ministry, but they could show only a copy of the order without the official sign of the ministry’, a shop owner told Mizzima. ‘The authorities ordered the part-time, blue-collar workers to remove the property from our shops. But we protested and the crowd grew so the authorities backed down’.

A witness said, ‘The factory authorities brought in unskilled workers in three trucks. Then, when they started removing the property from some shops, people shouted it was unfair. There was a big crowd on the road’.

The proprietors constructed the shops with their own money more than seven years ago, and they pay land rental fees to the ice factory’, according to shop owners.

The building is two stories with a mezzanine. Each shop is 10 ft x 25 ft. and each shop owner spent up to US $9,700 for their shop. The land rental fee is 5,500 kyat or $6 a month. In accordance with the Government Buildings Act, the factory authorities issued warning notices one year ago. But, the shop owners say that they own the buildings and refused to move the shops.

The Myasandar ice factory was put up for auction in early 2010 and it was bought by AA Pharmaceutical Company, according to residents. 

Sources said the contract for the building does not say anything about how many years the shop owners can remain in the building. The building was put up for auction with the ice factory, according to the shop owners.

Shop owners filed an appeal letter to the Supreme Court in Naypyitaw early this year and an appeal letter was recently sent to President Thein Sein, sources said.

The shop owners have asked the factory authorities to sell the land to them or to continue to rent the land for a reasonable price.

‘We were totally dedicated to build the building’, said a shop owner.  ‘We had to fill the soil in. We don’t want to accept compensation.’

‘We just want to continue with our shops here. If they evict us, the business lives of some shop owners will be ruined’, said another shop owner.

When Mizzima asked factory manager Tin Lwin about the case, he said that he had contractual documents, but he refused to provide details.

In Prome, some government departments used to rent their land and allowed shop owners to build shops on the land. Some of the rental contracts had a fixed expiration date, sources said.

In a related incident, in a dispute involving apartment block No (1), which was on land owned by the police department in Prome, the department forced shop owners to leave the land and later the building was demolished.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 April 2011 11:16 )  

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