With Planned Protest, Shwe Gas Pipeline Resentments Linger

By Su Myat Mon 8 April 2016

RANGOON — Local farmers in Kyaukphyu Township, Arakan State, plan a protest for next week Monday demanding compensation for land they say was damaged to make way for a contentious oil and gas pipeline laid by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

More than 100 hectares were reportedly spoiled by CNPC in Gyin Gyi village tract, across three villages in the township. The aggrieved landholders have been seeking compensation since 2013, and while most have received payments, nearly half have not.

At least 100 protestors are expected to join a Monday afternoon march from Kant Kaw Taw Pagoda near Gone Chein village to the local CNPC office.

According to the Kyaukphyu District Police colonel, Win Kyi, a pending permission for the demonstration was sought from authorities on April 5, with the officer telling The Irrawaddy a decision on whether or not it would be granted was expected by Sunday.

Nyi Lin, a social worker from Kyaukphyu, said more than 200 people were affected by the pipeline, but 111 of them had not yet seen any compensation distributed over what has been dubbed the “Shwe gas” project.

“We know that the amount of our land compensation is more than 130 million [kyats, equivalent to about US$108,000], according to the clerk of the township administrator,” Nyi Lin told The Irrawaddy.

“The special officer Myint Zaw Oo from Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise came and studied our field from January 21, 2016, [to determine] whether our lands have been destroyed or not. They have since confirmed that the plough-fields have actually been damaged.”

“China National Petroleum Corporation can easily give us that amount, being a big international company,” he told The Irrawaddy.