LETTER : Pipe dream

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The Independent Online
YOUR article "No hope for reform on Burma's slave railway" (10 September) concerns the working methods used to build the Ye-Tavoy railroad. According to your reporter, this railway is being built "to secure a multi- million-dollar gas pipeline project".

May we point out that the Ye-Tavoy railway and our gas pipeline project, conducted by Total and its partners - US-based Unocal and Thailand's PTT-EP - are completely unconnected.

Construction of the pipeline is planned for 1996-97, well before the planned completion of the railway which, in any case, could not transport the loads required for pipeline construction. Moreover, the railway runs north-south but our pipeline west-east.

It is unthinkable for Total - directly or indirectly - to resort to forced labour of any kind.

Joseph Daniel

Total, Paris