Shan farmers from Namkham, a Sino-Burma border town in northern Shan State, are voicing concern over the gas pipelines linking to China that have appeared to have some holes or loosely connected, according to local news sources.
“These pipelines which located near the town seem not properly bolted and immersed into the ground. The pipelines that pass through the forests are perhaps even worse. We are very worried the gas will be leaked during service. Last Monday, 2 political parties from Namkham with some other people visited the site where the holes were found. We told the two representatives from Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) who are leaving for China to negotiate with Chinese officials to report on the situation,” said an SNLD member.
The pipelines lying near Kunlong village in Namkham Township, on Namkham-Wanmaw Highway are in a worrisome condition if the gas were to be transmitted sometime next month.
A proposal forwarded to chief minister of Shan State early this month requests to review the gas pipeline project. So far there is no response. “We will stage a protest against the Shwe project not to release the gas until a solution is reached,” said Sai Aye, a farmer from Namkham.
“A petition letter to state chief minister states that in case the pipeline is damaged and leaked, or exploded, who would be responsible for the cause which may result in injury or loss of properties to the locals. Would the compensation come from the company, from the government or from the state chief minister? We posed these questions in the petition. That is why, the Northern Shan State Farmers Association would like to request one thing—that the state chief minister consider our demand by not releasing the gas through the pipelines in May or June, until the pipeline safety is properly secured,” added Sai Aye.
At the same time, in March, as requested by the Northern Shan State Farmers Association, Chiang Mai based Shan rights groups, NGO and CSO organizations have filed a petition against the Shwe pipeline project and a copy of statement was submitted to the Chinese Consulate in Chiang Mai.