"Please stop Crony capitalism-nization in Myanmar Now!"
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Campaign for 24-Hour Electricity Continues

Thandwe: A youth group for 24-hour electricity in Arakan resumed its campaign on Monday in two major towns in southern Arakan State, demanding electricity be supplied throughout the state using gas being extracted from Arakan.

The campaign was resumed by the youth group in Thandwe and Taungup in southern Arakan State a few days ago after a similar campaign was carried out in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan, where a dozen activists were detained by police.

"We resumed the campaign by pasting up and distributing posters in two towns on 5 December. The posters read, "We must have rights to use our own gas. Give us 24 hours of electricity immediately," said a youth who participated in the campaign.

The campaign reportedly started in the early morning of 5 December with 2,000 small posters being put up in many places in the two towns, including at gates, signboards, and the wells of many government offices, schools, and private buildings.

"We made the campaign by sticking up many posters encouraging the local people in the townships of Thandwe and Taungup to participate in our movement against government plans to sell gas to China through the pipeline under construction," said the youth.

The posters were spread around many areas of the towns but no action has been taken yet by the authorities, he added.

The Arakanese youth have started to campaign for 24-hour electricity in their state after the energy minister, U Than Htay, recently stated in parliament that his regime has no plans to to use Arakan's offshore gas for the benefit of Arakan State.

Dissatisfaction and anger are growing amongst the Arakanese people as news is also emerging that the regime has not only sold off Arakan's offshore gas to China, but has also planned for other gas from the region to fuel only factories owned by the government and its army officers.

The youth said they will continue the campaign throughout Arakan to motivate the Arakanese people to participate widely in the movement.

"Now many young people in Arakan have joined with us in our campaign against the government plan to sell gas to China without any benefit for Arakanese people. In the future, there will be a mass movement against the Shwe Gas project. We decided and vowed to carry out our campaign until 24-hour electricity is granted by Arakan gas," he said.

Arakan State has the lowest electricity supply in all of Burma. The electricity currently supplied in the state is generated from expensive diesel and petrol engines, and residents also have to pay higher rates - 400 to 600 Kyat per unit of electricity - than anywhere else in Burma.

In central Burma, electricity is charged at a rate of 28 Kyat per unit for household use and 50 Kyat per unit for industrial use. The electricity being produced from the generators in Arakan is too low in voltage to run factories, but households are charged significantly more per unit than in central Burma. Because of this, most of the people living in the region are unable to access electricity at all.

Leave a Reply