The SHWE Gas Movement: For a Sustainable Future in a Free and Democratic Burma


For a Sustainable Future in a Free and Democratic Burma



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Shwe Stakeholders: Peoples

Tripura State, India

Tripura lies in the northeast corner of India near Bangladesh, Burma and China. Its east shares a boundary with the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram, while the other sides are bounded by Bangladesh.

Many believe the state's name originated from Tripura Sundari -- a deity and one of the 51 pethos of Hindu Pilgrims. Others say the name comes from its original name, Tuipra, which means “a land adjoining the water.” In antiquity, the boundaries of Tripura extended to the Bay of Bengal in present-day Bangladesh, when its rulers held sway from the Garo hills to Arakan in the south.

Tripura's history as an Indian administrative unit dates back to the days of the Maharajas, and was ruled as a princely state under the Manikya dynasty. Also significant is that, although Tripura was conquered by force in 1761, no political agents were appointed until 110 years later. During British rule, Tripura was an independent administrative unit. After Indian independence on September 9, 1947, Tripura was taken over by the government of India two years later on October 15, 1949. Tripura was a territory of the Union of India with no legislature from November 1956 until July of 1963, at which time one was installed. Nine years later, on January 21, 1972, Tripura attained statehood.

Tripura's economy depends on horticulture and plantation crops such as pineapples, oranges, cashewnuts, jackfruit, coconut, tea, rubber, and forest products, with the industrial sector contributing about five percent of total employment and seven percent of the total income of the state respectively. [1]

The state has considerable gas and oil reserves, including one trillion cubic feet (tfc) of recoverable gas, which the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has for years tried to get piped through Bangladesh into West Bengal. The Shwe Project may be just the opportunity the Indian government has been looking for, but will this be best for the people of Tripura? (See Issues: Environmental and Cultural Destruction).

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