Kaladan Multimodal Transit Project Hollow for Arakanese People Skip to main content

Kaladan Multimodal Transit Project Hollow for Arakanese People

Sittwe: With the hope of promoting trade and regional development, India and Burma laid the foundation for construction of a port and waterway terminal as part of the Burma - India Kaladan Multimodal Transit Project at a ceremony held in Sittwe on 19 December, 2010.

Kaladan-river-between-Sittwe-and-Mrauk-UThe foundation ceremony was opened in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, during the morning when the cornerstone for the project was placed.

According to a Burmese official source, during the ceremony some high officials, including Deputy Minister Mr. Jayant Prassad of External Affairs of India, Indian Ambassador to Burma Dr. Villur Sundararajan Sheshadri, and embassy staff attended with other officials from India.

On the Burmese side, Chairman of the Rakhine State Peace and Development Council, Commander of Western Command Brigadier-General Soe Thein, and Minister for Transport U Thein Swe attended the ceremony.

Officials from both sides delivered speeches at the ceremony regarding their relations and regional development that they expect the project to bring.

Replying to Narinjara on the issued over the phone, Ko Kyaw Zaw, an educated Arakanese from Sittwe, said, "We Arakanese people have no right to carry out the work and our people have no capital to run in the project. How can Arakanese people benefit from the project? It is beneficial for the Burmese government and India, not for the people. The project can not bring our state development."

Moreover, he said that Arakanese will be facing more human rights violations by the Burmese army because the authority has deployed more troops to guard the projects.

The Burmese army does not respect the Arakanese people and has oppressed them in many ways since the military gained power in Burma. Many villagers have lost their farm lands and homes as authorities have confiscated property for the projects, he added.

Burma and India claim that the Kaladan river project aims to promote trade between the two countries, but many Arakanese doubt the project will bring benefits to them. The projects are furthermore expected to damage the environment and harm many cultural sites in Arakan.

The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Project is targeted for completion by 2013.

India stands as Burma's fourth largest trading partner after Thailand, China, and Singapore. According to official statistics, Burmese - Indian bilateral trade reached 1.9 billion US Dollars in the fiscal year of 2009 - 10, an increase of 26.1 over the previous year.


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