Thursday, May 14, 2009

Junta orders planting Physic Nut in northern Burma

KNG - Early this week, the Burmese military junta released a new order to resume regular Physic Nut (Jet Suu in Burmese) plantation activities in Myitkyina, the capital of the country's northern Kachin State, said local sources.

Residents in each quarter in Myitkyina have been told to plant Physic Nut saplings in the spaces on the left and right, along the roadside in two areas--- the road between Maw Hpawng village-Myitkyina downtown and Tatkone quarter-Balaminhtin Irrawaddy River Bridge. The orders came from the quarters' administrative offices (Ya Ya Ka).

Under a rotation system, civilians from each quarter have been ordered to grow the saplings in the given areas. Both civilians and government personnel have been directed to grow the saplings, said residents of Myitkyina.

Yesterday, two residents from each sub-area in Tatkone were ordered to go with iron crowbars to the planting areas on the roadside towards Balaminhtin Irrawaddy River Bridge from Tatkone by the quarter administrative office, said residents.

Again, 15 sub-areas in the quarters between Maw Hpawng and Myitkyina downtown have been ordered to send two-inch long 100 stems of Physic Nut each to their quarters' administrative offices by 5 p.m. Burma Standard Time today, according to residents of these quarters.

The local military authorities use civilians as forced labour for Physic Nut planting but they avoid planting saplings with too many people for fear of media attention, said local people.

In Kachin State, the Physic Nut or also called Jatropha Curcas has to be grown in the whole state under the government project in the entire country. Most Physic Nut trees are planted alongside main roads, public places, football grounds and in front of government buildings in Kachin State, said locals.

At the same time, children and some adults are often hospitalized with vomiting caused by eating the poisonous fruits of Physic Nut but the military authorities are yet to put a single 'warning poster' in front of the plantations in public places, complained local residents.

The Physic Nut or also called Castor Oil Plant locally bears fruits in three years after planting. The junta has ordered to grow Physic Nut in 500,000 acres in Kachin State.

The junta claims to produce bio-fuel or diesel from Physic Nut but there is no market to sell the Physic Nut fruits in Kachin State till now, said local people.

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