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Protest Against Daewoo on Shwe Gas Deal Between India and Burma

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  • Translation Lwin

Dozens of Burmese protesters along with pro-democracy supporters, human rights activists and environmentalists took part in a protest march in Delhi on Tuesday, calling upon corporations to pull out of the proposed Shwe gas pipeline between India and Myanmar.

In March of this year India and Myanmar signed a memorandum of agreement on the building of a pipeline from Myanmar's Arakan coast to the north east of India. The 180 mile pipeline is expected to cost US $2 billion.

The march in Delhi was held to draw attention to the humanitarian ramifications of the project. "People will be... displaced. Villagers may be forced to vacate their areas. So now this is going to create, you know, a kind of both ecological and environmental effect." said NSN Lotha, North East Students Organisation Spokesperson.

Protestors also fear the construction of the pipeline will lead to increased human rights abuses by the military junta in Myanmar.

Carol Ransley, Earth Rights International spokesperson, called for greater transparency on the project from government and companies involved.

"Particularly the governments of India and Korea have displayed very little public transparency and accountability over this particular investment. There is not enough information being reviewed by the companies or the governments that are involved and there should be greater public scrutiny and debate about this project because it has the potential to cause massive humanitarian crisis in Burma."

Indian activists too have their reservations about the pipeline alleging it will lead to loss of land and livelihood in the north-east.

South Korea's Daewoo International holds a 60 percent stake in the natural gas field in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of western Myanmar.

Protesters carried placards that said "Daewoo, stop investment with SPDC." The company has said it expects to begin commercial production in 2010, envisaging an annual profit of 100 billion won, US $106 million.

Protectors have been calling on Daewoo International to halt its multimillion dollar exploration and production of natural gas in Myanmar saying that the revenue would be funnelled to the ruling military junta instead of to the country's impoverished people.

Information for this report is provided by APTN.

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