Monday, November 21, 2011

Campaign for 24-Hour Electricity in Arakan State

Narinjara

Sittwe: A clandestine poster campaign demanding 24 hour electricity be supplied all over Arakan State in western Burma with power generated from local gas was recently launched.


Campaign for 24-Hour Electricity in Arakan State The 24-Hour Action Group Rakhine State has claimed that it has carried out the campaign on the 10th of November, coinciding the religious festive occasion in a number of townships including Sittwe, Ponnakyaun, Mrauk-U, Kyaukpru, Ramere and Taungok.

“Our members in different townships of the state have jointly worked on and launched this campaign at the same time on the same day in almost every township in our state. We have launched this campaign to demand that the Burmese regime supply 24-hour electricity in our state with power generated from the gas extracted from the local Shwe offshore gas fields in the state," said one of campaigners of the group.

The campaigner said they stuck posters that demanded 24-hour electricity at public places, on government buildings, and on the lamp posts of every street and also spread the posters in most busy streets in the towns.

The group had started to launch similar campaigns across Arakan state last October just after the Energy Minister U Than Htay stated in the parliament that his regime had already sold off the natural gas found in the Shwe offshore gas fields in Arakan State to China and had no plans to use any of the gas for the state.

“The regime will export 90% of the natural gas reserves to China within 30 years and will fetch US$ 970 million for exporting 400 cubic feet in a year and we can calculate how much profit the regime will earn by the gas from our state. However we local people will not get any benefit from this gas and that is why we have to launch this campaign to fight for our rights to those natural resources”, said the campaigner.

According to the 24 Hours Action Group, Arakan State is abundant in gas and other natural resources, but even its Capital Sittwe gets only five-hours of electricity supplied per day and the consumers have to pay 500 kyat per unit of electricity a price 20 times higher than that being charged in Rangoon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw in mainland Burma. The group said they have also sent a letter to Dr. Aye Maung, the president of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, on the same day of the campaign urging him and his party to work for getting 24-hour electricity supply in Arakan State.

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