What happened to Chittagong-Kunming road?

On Sunday 2 December 2012TheDailyStar published an article about a proposal to construct a road that would pass through Myanmar and connect the capital of West Bengal, Kolkata, with Kunming City, a southwestern city in China. The plan was initially proposed three years ago, and officials from the foreign ministries of each country involved met in Kunming to finalise project features, including the route the road would take when connecting with China.

China and India have developed a keen interest in constructing this road and, specifically for India, the road will act as a gateway to Southeast Asia. India and China have announced that direct road will be constructed between their countries, bypassing Bangladesh. A direct connection with China is beneficial for trade and mutual development, however implications may arise out of this decision.

Initially, a connecting road from Chittagong, in the Bay of Bengal, to Myanmar’s main highway was proposed. The highway extends from Mandalay in Myanmar to Kunming in China. This road-link would have given China direct access to Chittagong, a warm-water port, and exports from China could bypass the hazardous Strait of Malacca situated between Malaysia and Indonesia en route to the Middle East and Europe.However, Bangladesh never formally presented the proposal to the Myanmar and Chinese governments simultaneously.

Instead, the author of the article advises the revival of the original proposal, to attract India and China, as well as Myanmar, to help Bangladesh establish connectivity. The proposal of road and rail connections may be financially efficient ways to export goods from China to Chittagong. Continue reading

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Myanmar to construct an offshore drill in 2013

ElevenMyanmarpublished on Monday 3 December 2012 an article about the future construction of an oil and gas drilling machine at the offshore site “M-11” in Myanmar.

The construction is being conducted by Total E&P, a company based in Yangon. Namita Shah, general manager of Total E&P stated“we have 40 per cent share in the M-11 project, and we are now planning to set up a drill. I think we can begin after the rainy season of 2013 [November].”

The project is a collaboration between three companies, the Thai company PTTEP, the French company Total E&P and the Japanese company JX NEOX (JX Myanmar), the largest investor and founder of the “M-11” construction development being PTTEP having 45% shares in the project.

Currently, Myanmar exports natural gas from the ShweGas pipeline to China and from the Yetagungas fields to Thailand. Myanmar also intends to export gas to Thailand from the Zawtika project, which is prepared to commence in 2013. However, regarding the recent modifications in Myanmar policyconcerningits natural resources, local consumption of the gas from the M-11 project will take priority. Continue reading

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The Irrawaddy published on Nov 7, 2012 “Pipeline Nightmare”,a report released by The Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO). The article illustrates how the project has resulted in the confiscation of land, forced labor and an increased military presence affecting thousands of people. Moreover, the report documents human rights violations in six target cities and 51 villages committed by the Burma Army, police and militias taking responsibility for security during construction.  Mai AmmNgeal, a member of TSYO said “even though the international community believes that the government has implemented political reforms, it doesn’t mean those reforms have reached ethnic areas, especially not where there is increased militarization along the Shwe Pipeline, increased fighting between the Burmese Army and ethnic armed groups, and negative consequences for the people living in these areas”. The TSYO report urges President TheinSein’s administration to postpone the Shwe Gas and Oil Pipeline project, withdraw the military from Shan State, reach a ceasefire with all local ethnic armed groups and address the root causes of the armed conflict by engaging in political dialogue.

Eleven Media released on November 12, 2012 that Rakhine and Central Myanmar will get 100 million cubic feet of natural gas a day upon completion of the Myanmar-China oil and gas pipeline. Than Htay, Minister for Energy, said that the aim of constructing the Myanmar-China oil and gas pipeline is for mutual friendship, to create job opportunities and to ensure energy security. Once completed, about 100 million cubic feet of natural gas can be supplied every day, for local consumption, and two million barrels of crude oil can be bought every day. This is one of the most beneficial projects because it can fulfill the energy requirement of the country.

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NewsTrack India posted on Oct 3, 2012 about Myanmar plans to set up seven more industrial zones, will be Tatkon in Nay Phi Taw, Yadanarbon in Mandaylay, Hpa-an, Myawaddy and Phayathonzu in Kayin State, Ponnagyun in Rakhine State and Namoum in Shan State, in addition to the existing, official media, The New Light of Myanmar reportedl. The addition of the seven industrial zones will bring number of such to 25 in the country and it will be able to generate a great deal of job opportunities for people, reported Xinhua. There are also some planned special economic zone (SEZ) projects in Myanmar such as Thilawa in Yangon’s Thilawa Port, Dawei in southern Taninthayi region and Kyaukphyu in western Rakhine state as the government also invited other foreign inverstors.

On October 5, 2010, Assamtribune published as The Minister of Railways of the India said that there are also several international connectivity projects in the pipeline which have the potential to transform the region economically. These include the multi-modal transport project for linking Mizoram by road and an inland waterway to the Bay of Bengal through the Sittwe Port in Myanmar, road links for connecting the North East region to Thailand and a rail connection from Delhi to Hanoi in Vietnam through the North East region. Similarly, there is a proposal of rail link between North-east India- Bangladesh and West Bengal. Continue reading

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Narinjara Online News reported on October 3, 2012 that the Burmese Police do not dare take action against a foreign employee working at Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a state-owned company that, in association with other international companies, is supporting the Shwe Gas Project. Ali Kumar, the employee from the Indian Punj Lloyd Company, is said to have made repeated attempts to rape two local female day-labourers in their workplaces in Goneshin Village, and in SepokkaeVollage in Kyaukpru Township, Arakan State. It has been reported that local people are discontent with the way foreign companies have treated their labourers, which includes cases of abuse and labourers not receiving any benefits guaranteed to them when the companies arrived in the area.

Mizzima released on October 4, 2012 that Burma’s President TheinSein is scheduled to visit South Korea on October 8, 2012 to meet Korean President Lee Myung-bak to discuss increasing investment, improving infrastructure, and other developments concerning Burma’s energy resources and other areas. South Korea has made large investments in various sectors across Burma, and Korean businesses are momentarily observing Burma’s textile and clothing industry. At the sixth Energy and Natural Resources Joint Implementation Committee meeting in Naypyitaw, Burmese and South Korean officials focused on the Shwe Gas Project and discussed cooperating on technical developments in future oil and gas projects. Continue reading

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BetweenOnline wrote on their September 1, 2012 about the construction of the  Kaladan Multi-Modal Trade Transit Project in Myanmar will certainly ensure larger business trade and more economic progress to this region. During their recent visit to Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Myanmar’s Minister for Border Affairs and Industrial Development Lt. Gen. Thein Htay and India’s Ambassador to Myanmar Dr. Villur Sundararajan Seshadri evaluated and assessed the development of the said project. The officials of Rakhine State were notified by Dr. Seshadri of the security assistance and support he has provided for the workforce and the project site. This made the construction easy and convenient even if there are barriers and obstructions along the way. And ANI news reported as between Myanmar and India has remarkably increased from USD 12.4 million in 1980-81 to 1070.88 million in 2010-11. Continue reading

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Zee News India  wrote on their August 16, 2012 about the visit of Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla to Aizawl on Wednesday August 15, 2012, He said “The Multimodal Transit Transport Project would not only improve connectivity between northeast India and Southeast Asian nations but also boost the economy of the region,The central government had approved Rs.2,873 crore under special central assistance for implementation of the NLUP for rebuilding rural economy. Already 90,139 farmer families have benefited under the state government’s flagship scheme and 29,861 more families would benefit during this financial year. The Planning Commission has appreciated the Mizoram government for launching such a unique scheme. The NLUP’s success could be a model for other northeastern states,” Lal Thanhawla said after unfurling the national flag at the Assam Rifles Ground. India in 2010 began constructing a river port and waterway terminal in Myanmar, aimed at promoting trade and connectivity between the two countries. Construction for the Myanmar-India Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project linking Kaladan river in Sittway township of Rakhine state in Myanmar was undertaken with India’s funding.He said that over 120,000 families would be benefited by the NLUP, which is aimed at ending the traditional ‘jhum’ cultivation (slash-and-burn method of shifting cultivation). Continue reading

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The Irrawady on their July 4, 2012 article wrote about the pressure that grown to end tainted state agency’s role in oil and gas. It wrote that the Myanmar Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a tool of the army generals who ran Burma and controlled revenue resources, is tainted and at the very least in need of a top-down detoxification. That’s the view of a growing number of international organizations and industry opinion after opposition leader publicly Aung San Suu Kyi declared that MOGE remained a murky, unaccountable state agency despite President Thein Sein-led political and economic reforms. As the Ministry of Energy prepares for a second high-profile international forum in Rangoon, at which it plans to offer 40 or more new exploration and production licenses, America’s biggest business lobbying group admitted that Suu Kyi’s MOGE comments effectively stopped investment in the sector—at least by US companies. Continue reading

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Sarkaritel.com wrote on their June 4, 2012. An Indian Prime Minister visiting close-door neighbor Myanmar after 25 years is newsworthy but beyond this, the visit which materialized post significant changes in Myanmar, provides opportunities for scripting a new history but given India’s proximity to Myanmar, Manmohan Singh’s visit came a little late. Understandable, given New Delhi’s ‘latecomer’ approach to international politics, it provides some solace. A number of deals were signed, and if efforts towards development of regional connectivity materialize, New Delhi would have made strides towards effecting regional changes in its favor. Connectivity between the two countries too is a priority issue, the proper implementation of which would greatly enhance bilateral ties across the board and lead to development of border areas on both sides. Continue reading

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Narinjara wrote in their article dated June 7, 2012, about Public Frustration Growing Over Gas Pipeline Project in Arakan. It said disappointment among the public is growing over the Shwe Gas Project in Kyuakpru on the southern coast of Arakan State as the project continues to case suffering and trouble to to local people since it began. Another problem that is now troubling them is that they are facing difficulty moving their cattle to plow their farmland for paddy cultivation because the pipeline is built through the middle of their paddy farms. The pipeline is as high as a man’s height and built aboveground, partitioning their paddy farms down the middle and causing trouble with moving the cattle on their farms, no cattle can be moved to the other side of the pipeline. Continue reading

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Support the Kaladan movement!

The Burmese regime and the Indian government are about to launch a multi-million dollar transport project that the Kaladan Movement believes will result in human rights abuses and environmental damage in Arakan and Chin States.

Our demands

The implementation of the Kaladan Project should be fully transparent and should ensure:

  • full local public consultation and participation;
  • the benefits of the project go to the least advantaged communities;
  • accountability for ALL stakeholders involved in the project;
Unless and until these essential elements are fulfilled, the Kaladan Project should be suspended. Read More

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