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Fence will hit those dependent on Bangladeshi services

Apr 7, 2009 (DVB), A villager in Bangladesh has said that the construction of a border fence will disrupt the livelihoods of Burmese villagers dependent on Bangladeshi trade and services.

Construction of the fence is already underway by the Burmese government, who hope it will stem the flow of illegal cross-border trade into western Burma from Bangladesh.

Kohra Mott, leader of Wakhutchaung village union in Bangladesh's Teknaf district, said the fence could harm people living on the Burmese side.

"This is going to make lives of villagers in Burma's Maung Taw district more difficult," he said.

"Because their villages are located in very remote places away from towns, they can only rely on the Bangladeshi markets across the river to buy medicine and food."

It would make life difficult for people from both sides of the border who make a living from fishing in the river, he added.

Disputes between the respective governments have arisen over the exact demarcation of the fence.

The Bangladesh Rifles, a paramilitary group stationed on the border, claimed recently that in certain places the fence strays too close to Bangladeshi territory.

One Burmese national based on the Bangladesh side of the border said last week that there was a high military presence in the area.

"Burmese government agents, military and police members were sent to location of the planned fence in civilian uniforms to keep the situation under control," said Khaing Pray Thein.

Reporting by Maung Too and Khin Maung Soe Min