Monday, January 28, 2008

Burma: Gas find sparks fears of forced labour and confiscated land

Gas has been found in northern Arakan while digging a tube-well in Mrauk Chaung (Mori Khong) village two miles from south-west of Bawli Bazaar of Maungdaw Township by Action Contre le Farm or ACF on January 23.

On the day, at about 3:30 pm, some staff of the ACF, an NGO from France found the gas while they were digging a tube-well in Mrauk Chaung village of Maungdaw Township in Arakan State. When the staff reached a depth of 120 feet of tube-well, they heard some sound and suddenly gas spouted. The staff tested the gas by putting it on fire. The gas burnt continuously, said a local schoolteacher on condition of anonymity.

The ACF informed the commander of Nasaka area No. 4. The Commander of Nasaka Area No.4 accompanied by some officials went to the spot to see the situation on January 25.

The commander informed other higher authorities about the gas field that was found by ACF while a digging tube-well. All the ACF staff went to their office at Maungdaw town after abandoning the tube-well.

On January 26, the Tactical Operation Commander (TOC) of Buthidaung Town will arrive on the spot to oversee the situation, said an aide of Nasaka.

But, local villagers were disappointed and worried that they might be relocated. They are also worried about forced labor and some of the lands being confiscated by the authorities from the farmers, according to villagers

Source: Kaladan Press Network