Friday, November 20, 2009

Burma: Junta seizes hand-dug oil wells from villagers

Source: Kaladan Press Network Please visit and show your support and appreciation

The Burmese military junta seized about 50 acres of land along with 34 traditional hand-dug oil wells on November 10 from villagers and an oil company in Kyaukpru Township, because oil was being produced from the land, said a close relative of Saw Shin.

Police in Kyuakphyu Township told them that the order to confiscate property came from Naypyidaw. Land confiscation by the government is a common practice in Arakan State, he more added.

One of the he villagers is U Saw Shin from Mara Chung village under the Nietkamaw village tract and U Hlu Gyi Yee, is the owner of an oil company of the same village tract in Kyaulpru Township.

The seized lands are in the seaside area. A rich man U Hlu Gyi Yee has a car company. He established a private company named “Thein Than Oil” company. He found oil in the seized land after trying very hard by spending his own money. But the company operated in the area without permission from the government. The company found oil after spending Kyat 6 million. But, the government gave him only Kyat 3 million as compensation, a friend of U Hlu Gyi Yee said.

The Thein Than oil Company started work in the field since September first week and found oil in the field in October second week. However, this information went to the concerned authorities and the project (oil digging) was seized on November 10 by the authorities.

The China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) companies operate in Arakan State, said sources.

After seizing the project, the company was transferred to Gawto village tract of Kyaukpru Township with another license. Villagers believed the confiscated land will be given to CNOOC to explore for oil on the site, according to villages.

There are about 34 small traditional hand-dug oil wells on the seized land from which villagers earned money to support their family members. Villagers took crude oil from the wells and sold it in the market. But, at present, all the villagers are transferred to other places and have no jobs. As a result, villagers have been facing food crisis, said a local elder on condition of anonymity.

Published by i On Global Trends - Mike Hitchen Online - news, opinion, analysis
See also Sydney Irresistible
Putting principles before profits