Myanmar-China gas pipeline cheats Myanmar society: activists

MYANMAR - Myanmar-China natural gas pipeline project is a cheat to the Myanmar society, say locals and law experts at a press conference titled "Development and Responsible Investment" held in Yangon yesterday.

They also expressed disappointment over the government's ignoring over the project.

The former junta authorized China's state-own China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to implement the project, which is now supplying natural gas through the pipeline to China.

"Did locals know about the project in advance? Or they knew it only after bulldozers entered their farms? When there were widespread public campaigns about possible dangers when you use mobile phones and smoke at gas stations in Yangon, local people used to live near the pipeline, cooking and living there. It showed there was no public awareness campaigns and transparency about the project. The whole society faced loses because of the project while the government ignoring," said advocate Han Shin Win at the forum.

He also continued one blasting the government for failing to protect the interest of the people according to laws such as 1975 Citizen Rights Protection Law, Foreign Investment Law, and 2012 Environmental Preservation Law over problems resulted in from the project.

"We only got Ks 30,000 as a compensation for a plot of land taken for the project in our "Sonekone" village. That amount was too little to buy another one. For farmland seizures, local farmers only got Ks 13 million as the highest for an acre of farmland at the time when an acre was worth Ks 30 million. The government should deal with the unfairness," said Salai Shwelay from Sonekone, Ngepe Township in Magwe Region.

Locals who attended the forum said about 300 people in the township are still not negotiated a settlement for their land issue. MP Ye Tun said local authorities and surveyors in some areas of 21 townships along the pipeline got their own interests, taking advantage of the compensations.

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