Groups demand compensation for impact of Myanmar-China pipeline

Fourteen findings of environmental impact along the Myanmar-China oil and gas pipeline and seven demands by Pyin Oo Lwin farmers in Mandalay have been released and will be submitted to the government.

The findings and demands were released by a workshop held in Pyin Oo Lwin on July 6 by the Sein Lan Pyin Oo Lwin environmental conservation association and Myanmar-China Pipeline Watch Committee.

The 1100-kilometre Myanmar-China oil and gas pipeline, which connects Kyaukphyu, Rakhine, in Myanmar and Yunnan, China, passes through six major cities in Myanmar, and along the route, there are many problems.

The seven-member watch committee, which has one elected person from each city along the pipeline, is calling for payment for damages and for people’s rights.

“Our committee will meet with responsible people from the pipeline company. The company has also requested the meeting. Among the demands by Pyin Oo Lwin residents are reforestation for the trees cut down along the pipeline route and a monthly payment of gas benefits to farmers,” committee member U Ko Ko Gyi told The Myanmar Times.

Other issues with the pipeline, which started gas exports in July 2013, include threats against residents along the pipeline during construction, confusing land and crop compensation contracts, and requirements for the government and China National Petroleum Corporation to continue environmental management of forest damage caused by the pipeline, a committee member said.

“Agricultural land, including low lands and springs, were spoilt. It is not clear whether the compensation received was for crops or for land. The right to grow seasonal crops differs from one region to another, and we are not allowed to grow perennial trees. No responsibility is being taken for the pipeline. We haven’t got compensation for damage to buildings caused by blasting during the construction. What’s worse, in case of a pipeline disaster, we don’t know how to take emergency measures,” said U Saing Tun, a farmer from Pyin Oo Lwin.

The farmers demand land compensation to their satisfaction, another environmental impact and social impact assessment with the participation of civic societies, implementation of regional development programs with public participation, and timely and widespread dissemination of essential information and emergency response awareness programs.

Source : Myanmar Times