Hong Dein, IMNA – Heads of village tracts in the Winphanon Dam area of southern Mudon Township, Mon State, have collected money from farmers to have canals dug due to the flooding that is a result of the dam, according to farmers in the area.
The flooding area includes farms in Doe Mar, Set Thawe, Kwan-ka-bue, Htone-mun, Kalort-tort, Yar Thit, and Taung Pa Villages near the Winphanon Dam.
According to a farmer in Set Thawe, “They collect the funds to feed the diggers of the canal, to pay for fuel costs, and to pay the diggers. But the farmers far from dam don’t want to pay for it.”
Administrators of the Township General Administration Department already announced in advance that they would not collect money from farmers to dig the canal, but relevant heads of villages collected fees at the rate of 2,000 kyat per acre, said the Set Thawe farmer.
“Firstly they said they would dig for free, but actually we had to pay 2,000 kyat per acre. I own 20 acres, so I paid 40,000 kyat. I can’t work on the farm sometimes because of the flooding from the dam, and now I have to pay money for digging the canals. It is not convenient, and discouraging to farmers. But we will be without food if we don’t do farming because it is the source of our food,” said farmer whose farm is frequently flooded.
Many farms are in the areas that experience flooding since the dam was built in 2001. Approximately 30 farmers have been facing problems with floodwater every cultivation season.
“Ten farmers reported at Mudon to dig the canal to prevent flooding. The Department of Agriculture and Irrigation came with a digging machine for the canal. Currently it is about half finished,” said a Doe Mar farmer.
Over 30 farmers with flooded fields sent a letter of appeal to the Chief Minister of Mon State, South East Command (SEC), U Myo Nyunt, from the Mon State Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Breeding to ask for help in solving the problem of flooding.
According to the New Light of Myanmar, Winphanon Dam was built to irrigate 4,500 acres for summer paddy and 5,000 acres of orchard plantations. Mon State has ten townships with approximately one million acres of farmland.