Thai government briefs people on Salween dam project

by May Kyaw
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 21:59

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The government of Thailand has explained to its people on June 8 the benefit which will accrue to Thailand from the Salween Hat Gyi Dam.

A Thai government official of the Environment Department explained about the dam to people who will be relocated because of its construction.

“I still do not know the details of the agreement reached between the Thai and Burmese governments for the construction of the dam. Questions will be raised in Parliament regarding the details of the project,” the official told Mizzima.

He told this to the Mizzima correspondent during a tour of Kha Lekho village in Thailand.

The tour had media people, Thai government officials of the Electrical Power Department, Construction Department, Environment Department and Researchers.

On completion of the project, Thailand will get 90 per cent of the electricity generated and Burma will receive only the remaining 10 per cent, Thai Electrical Power Department officials said.

“The project will take seven years to complete but the official agreement has not yet been reached. We cannot say anything at this stage. The project may be cancelled,” an engineer from the Thai Electric Power Department said.

The Thai government has said that six villages home to 1,800 people need to be relocated for the construction of the dam project. But the local people claimed that in reality 24 villages would be affected.
“No good will come off this project for us. On the contrary we will be badly affected. There will be floods and our farms will be destroyed. It is in fact forced relocation,” a villager in Kha Lekho village said.

Thai and Burmese governments signed an agreement for the Hat Gyi dam construction at the end of 2007. The proposed dam will be built on the Myaing Gyi Ngu, downstream of Salween and Moei Rivers.

At the beginning of the project in 2004, a survey engineer was killed in a landmine blast and another Thai engineer, Smarn, was killed in a bomb explosion in 2007.

The Salween River which heaps benefits on the people living along its valley originates from Yunnan province in China and flows along Shan State, Karen State and Mon State in Burma.

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