1 lakh signatures in support of Arakanese need

A signboard has been erected in Sittwe for the campaign

( Sittwe, 20 September 2013) : Urging more shares of revenues out of natural resources to the people of Arakan province, a campaign group of the State has collected over one lakh (1,00,000) signatures within one month’s campaign.

The campaign group began the initiative on 19 August last calling on the government to share more benefits from the State’s bountiful natural resources with the residents of the western province of Burma.

The Arakan province, which is the second poorest State of Burma, has however  abundant natural resources like gas, crude oil, woods, bamboos, precious stones and marine wealth. The government of Burma in Nayppyidaw virtually owns the natural resources of Arakan and the central government has already sold a huge volume of natural gas to China.

The government in Naypyidaw has inked an agreement with the government in  Beijing to sell the gas from the Shwe project in Arakan. The Burmese government is supposed to get US$ 24 billion dollars from China within the next 20 years for the gas resource.  The dispatching

of gas from Shwe gas project in Kyaukphyu port to China’s Yunnan province through 793 kilometer gas pipeline has already begun last month.

The campaign group with many social activists of Arakan was formed under the supervision of Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), a major Arakanese political party which has 34 seats in the Parliament.

U Khing Pray Soe, chief campaigner as well as the member secretary of RNDP claimed that his group had already collected 120000 signatures from 12 townships of Arakan within a month.

The total number of signatures has however not included the contribution from five important townships in Arakan State and Yangon division. So the cumulative number of signatures should be over 2, 00,000,  informed the campaigners.

The campaign group has decided to collect three lakhs signatures from Arakan State and Yangon division within the next one month to submit to the government demanding more shares of revenues for the indigenous Arakanese people out of natural resources.

“After two months of our signature collection campaign, we will submit a memorandum to the government and the Parliamentarians to allocate

some revenues from Arakan nature resources for the development of our State,” said U Khing Pray Soe.

He also added that the revenue generated from the natural resources of the State should be spent for the development of Arakan’s  education, health, transportation and other socio-economic sectors.

“The authority should share a part of the revenue with the residents of Arakan for their collective benefits,” concluded the chief campaigner.