( Rambree, 30 September 2013) : Nearly 3000 residents of Rambree, a town located in Rambree Island of Arakan State, joined a demonstration today demanding 24 hours electricity supply in their locality.
The agitators also marched on the streets of Rambree arguing that they should get the power in return of their natural resource in Shwe gas field, said the retired army captain U Tun Kyi from the island.
“As our town is located in Rambree Island where we have the biggest Shwe gas project run by the Burmese and Chinese governments, we are agitating for our due. We raise voice for 24 hours electricity supply in our locality which can be produced by the Shwe gas. Moreover, we have to pay 600 Kyats per unit of electricity despite the government rate is only 35 Kyats (per unit power) in the country,” said U Tun Kyi.
The Burmese authority has provided uninterrupted power supply in Kyauk Pru township exploiting the Shwe gas. Some other villages located along the gas pipeline in the township areas also received the electricity with cheaper price (35 Kyats per unit).
However, the town of Rambree is not been included in the 24 hour electricity supply scheme by the authority. The concerned town receives the electricity for only four hours per day from 7 pm to 11 pm with the charge of 600 Kayts per unit.
“Kyauk Pru is not very far from our locality and hence we argue that if the residents of Kyauk Pru get 24 hours electricity with 35 Kyats per unit of electricity, why not our people can enjoy the same facility,” he added.
The protest program started at 9 am and ended at around 11 am without any interruption from the authority. It was however a biggest demonstration in Rambree, where the authority allowed the agitators to stage the protest.
“We had received permission from the township authority for the protest. Amazingly the authority is also facing the power crisis and hence the officials indirectly supported the move,” said Ko Kyaw Lwin, a protester from Rambree town.
The participating protesters, who argue that most of the 17 townships of Arakan do not get 24 hours power supply despite they have huge natural resources including oil and gas, even vowed to stage similar demonstrations again in future, if the authority fails to fulfill their demands.