6-hour strike called in Bangladesh against gas exploration deal

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syndicalist
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Jul 2 2011 16:30
6-hour strike called in Bangladesh against gas exploration deal

Anyone know much about this?

Quote:
Dhaka, Jun 18 : A pro-left civil society group today called a six-hour strike in the capital on July 3 demanding cancellation of state-owned Petrobangla's deal with Houston-based energy company ConocoPhillips to explore for gas in two deep sea gas blocks.

http://www.newkerala.com/news/2011/worldnews-10217.html

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Red Marriott
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Jul 3 2011 09:34

There is an ongoing energy crisis in the country, due to poor investment in infrastructure and corruption, which means regular interruptions, eg, to electric supply. This affects the profits of capitalists, the wages of workers (no pay for stoppage time) and farmers (crop irrigation dependent on electric pumps) and has caused much unrest and attacks on energy companies. The general public is affected too as reservoirs for public supply also depend on electricity to function. Basic domestic air conditioning is also desirable in such a climate. http://libcom.org/news/water-energy-and-crisis-bangladesh-07052007
http://libcom.org/news/more-energy-riots-electrickery-in-bangladesh-28092006

The concerns are that, as with coal extraction, the gas extraction will end up as another form of imperialist plunder where resources are exported, profiting locally only a few corrupt politicians. The struggle against gas extraction at sea remains though, for now at least, a more abstract threat than land-based extraction which has caused mass resistance, eg Phulbari; http://libcom.org/news/bangladesh-phulbari-mining-garment-industry-010906

Haven't read, so far, any reports on the 6hr strike.

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Red Marriott
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Jul 3 2011 21:20

Two versions - state says;

Quote:
State minister for home affairs Shamsul Huq Tuku on Sunday said that people did not respond to the half-day strike in the capital called by the national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and ports.
‘There were traffic on the roads as usual, people moved freely and shops and markets were open during the strike,’ he said. [...] http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/frontpage/24925.html

Others say;

Quote:
Bangladeshis protest gas deal with strike
ASSOCIATED PRESS
DHAKA: A citizens’ group today enforced a six-hour general strike in Bangladesh’s capital, partially disrupting businesses and transportation, to demand that the government cancel a gas exploration deal with US energy giant ConocoPhillips.

Video footage of the ATN Bangla television station showed a group of angry protesters smashing a car on the streets. Security officials cordoned off the office of the protesters in downtown Dhaka’s Purana Paltan area. Two officials of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police said they arrested about 50 protesters who tried to demonstrate, but that some were quickly released.

Schools were also closed during the strike. Last month, the government signed a production-sharing contract with ConocoPhillips to explore for

gas in deep waters of the Bay of Bengal. ConocoPhillips said it wants

to start exploring in two areas covering 1,992 square miles as soon as possible, and that it needs to conduct seismic surveys in two blocks with water depths of 0.6 miles to 0.9 miles.

The government says the deal is necessary to meet growing energy demand for its developing economy, but the group that called the strike — the National Committee on Protection of Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources, Power and Ports — says it compromises Bangladesh’s interests.

The government has accused the critics of misinterpreting some clauses in the deal. Bangladesh is struggling to meet growing demand for gas.

One forecast predicts that current reserves will run out by 2014-15, and the country is facing up to 250 million cubic feet in gas shortages each day.

Bangladesh, India and Myanmar have competing claims over some areas of the Bay of Bengal, and Bangladesh has petitioned the United Nations in an effort to establish its rights. http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=Bangladeshis+protest+gas+deal+with+strike&NewsID=294133