No one at GAIL or ONGC wants to live in Myanmar

Vol 9, PW 20 (26 Jan 06) People & Policy
     

GAIL and ONGC have been told by the oil ministry to step up their physical presence in Myanmar or face the prospect of losing business to China.

Worried about losing Myanmar to Beijing, ministry officials are telling GAIL and ONGC to monitor more closely plans to import Myanmar gas by posting a senior official from each company in the capital Yangon. Things wont move fast enough unless you have your own representatives there, we hear.

Spurred into action, GAIL has chosen SC Buragohain, an officer from Assam, while ONGC has prepared a shortlist of staff from and will select one officer. ONGC already has a small office in Yangon but wants to upgrade it in line with the ministrys directive.

Yet theres one BIG problem. GAIL and ONGC officers are usually overjoyed when offered overseas postings because they are paid in dollars, but Myanmar is at the wrong end of the preferred destination list.

Nobody, it seems, wants to go there. Buragohain is lobbying hard to get his posting cancelled and be allowed to stay in Delhi.

The biggest worry for all of them is the children's education, a senior GAIL source tells us. Myanmar has very few schools that provide English language education and the military junta often closes down schools and colleges to prevent student agitation.

Same story at ONGC, where senior officers are taking extraordinary steps to ensure their names do not figure on the list. ONGC chairman Subir Raha has expressed strong displeasure at attempts by his colleagues to avoid the call to arms.

Raha said they would save more money in Yangon than anywhere else because theres not much to spend on there, says a source. Resistance aside, ministry officials are determined to see more GAIL and ONGC staffers living in Yangon.

They will be based in our embassy, says a source. If our diplomats can live and work there, so can they.

Daewoo has several people working in Yangon. If they can work there why cant ONGC and GAIL

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