Mr. Prashanto Banerjee
Chairman and Managing Director, GAIL
16 Bhikaiji Cama Place
R K Puram Ring Road
Dear Mr. Banerjee,
I write to you in response to your company’s investment in the A-1 and A-3 “Shwe” natural gas project in the Bay of Bengal off Burma’s (Myanmar’s) western coast, in which your company owns a 8.5% share.
While it is clear that the development of cleaner energy alternatives such as natural gas is important, the “Shwe” project is different from others.
Infrastructure development projects such as “Shwe” do not help the people of Burma. Two Burmese natural gas pipeline projects in the 1990s – Yadana and Yetagun – made it devastatingly clear that large-scale gas pipeline projects in Burma are not only detrimental to the cultural life and environmental integrity of the pipeline areas, but also lead to the entrenchment of one of the world’s most brutal military regimes.
During the construction of previous Burmese gas pipelines, villagers were forcibly relocated without adequate compensation. Many were forced to work to construct military outposts, clear pipeline routes or porter crops and goods the army confiscated from people’s homes. The incidence of rape in these areas also rose dramatically. All reports from Western Burma indicate that history is repeating itself.
In your special address to the Asia Gas Buyers Summit 2003, March 24-25, 2003 in Mumbai, you yourself emphasized the importance of a “Green World”, which is environmentally sustainable, but which should also be socially just and fair.
You are tarnishing the record of your company through your involvement with the regime in Rangoon.
This letter is a demand for you to cease all involvement with the Burmese military regime until the people of Burma can have a say in the extraction of their natural resources and the revenues they generate. Until this demand is met, you can expect me to do the following:
- boycott your products
- encourage others to boycott your products
- divest and encourage others to divest from your company
- publicize your company’s complicity in human rights abuses against people in Burma that will be affected by the Shwe gas project.
- encourage the Indian government and citizens of India to start lawsuits against GAIL.
- join hands with Burmese opposition groups to help bring an end to the Burmese military regime.
For more information, please visit the SHWE Gas Movement’s homepage at www.shwe.org.