Monday, April 27, 2009

Salt workers face difficulties in fields from distribution agents

Maungdaw, Arakan State (Kaladan Press): Salt workers from Maungdaw Township are facing difficulties in working in their salt production fields, since an agent claiming to be a salt distribution agent is disturbing them, a salt worker from Ngakura village, ten miles away from Maungdaw, said.

Nawzumol Hasson (30), son of Fozul Islam, who hails from Paungza village of Maungdaw, is calling himself an agent of a salt distributor from Maungdaw. He claims to have got permission from the District Peace and Development Council (DPDC) of Maungdaw, the salt worker said.

The agent sent some people to the rural area of Maungdaw, where the salt production fields are located. They take all the salt at lower prices than the local market price and also demand money, from those who are producing salt in the fields as a permission fee, a trader from the Maungdaw market said.

The poor salt workers from Maungdaw, had given money for permission two months ago and were now again forced to take salt at lower prices than the local market, by the authority, a local elder from Shweza village said.

The agent stocks the salt and smuggles it to Bangladesh, with the help of the authority, where the salt prices are higher than Maungdaw, he added.

“If anyone complains to the DPDC office about the agents, Hla Htay, senior clerk of DPDC would listen to him but no action would be taken. If the complainant can pay more money then the issue would pass to the officer for action, an aide from the DPDC said. “The salt workers are poor and are unable to pay such money to clerks,” he added.

The price of salt in Maungdaw is Kyat 4000, but the agents give only Kyat 2500. They sell it in Bangladesh for Kyat 5000. All the prices are for 40 kg bags.

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