Campaign battles Mae Wong project


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According to a plan approved by the Cabinet on April 10, the Mae Wong Dam will be constructed within the environs of the Mae Wong National Parl, which covers parts of Kamphaeng Phet and Nakhon Sawan provinces.
Budget: ฿13.28 billion compared to the ฿9.6 billion requested last year.
Capacity: 258 million m3, 258 billion liters.
Implementation Period : 2012 to 2019
Expected loss of Forestland: 11,000 rai (1760 hectares, 17.60 km2)

Association seeks 13,280 signatures; cites high costs, threat to forestland

The Stop Global Warming Association (SGWA) yesterday called on people to join its campaign against the construction of the Mae Wong Dam.

The group aims to find 13,280 co-complainants for its petition, which will be filed with the Central Administrative Court. The petition calls for the construction project to be scrapped.

“We will go to various provinces to inform locals and to gather authorisation letters allowing us to represent them in court,” SGWA president Srisuwan Janya said yesterday.

Srisuwan said the SGWA team plans to campaign in many provinces including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Rayong, Chon Buri, Surat Thani, Phang Nga and Songkhla.

The campaign follows the SGWA’s statement last week condemning the Cabinet’s green light for the Mae Wong Dam. The statement came out after the Cabinet approved the plan to build the dam inside the Mae Wong National Park with a budget of Bt13.28 billion on April 10.

“The approved budget for the construction is too high,” Srisuwan reiterated yesterday. “[The high cost] reflects irregularities.”

According to the SGWA statement, the authorities requested only Bt9.6 billion for the construction last year.

Srisuwan yesterday said the construction, if it goes ahead, would hurt future generations.

“Our children will face adverse consequences. The budget for the construction will come from massive foreign loans and our offspring will have to repay. They will also suffer the loss of forestland,” he said.

Conservationists have said the construction of Mae Wong Dam would destroy more than 11,000 rai of forestland in Mae Wong National Park, which spans some parts of Nakhon Sawan and Kamphaeng Phet.

The construction would also affect a variety of wildlife and plants at the national park – home to more than 57 mammal species, 305 bird species, 22 reptile species, seven amphibian species, and 68 freshwater-fish species.

Srisuwan disregarded the government’s explanation that the Mae Wong Dam would provide irrigation to more people and prevent flooding.

“There are more than 10 big and medium-sized dams in the North already,” he said.

He said the SGWA had now registered a “Group Opposing Mae Wong Dam” account on Facebook to increase communication with people who also disagreed with the planned dam.

Srisuwan said people could also go to his association’s website, www.thaisgwa.com, for more information and download forms authorising the SGWA to act on their behalf.

Many conservation groups have expressed opposition to the construction of Mae Wong Dam.

The Ras Rak Pa Group from Phrae has described the planned construction as destruction of forestland.

“For the sake of posterity, the government should stop building big dams,” the representative of the group said. “It should not construct the Mae Wong Dam.”

Meanwhile, a group calling itself the Activists Who Used to Work with the Natural Resources and Environment Conservation Commission and Friends yesterday issued a statement asking the Cabinet to scrap its resolution to allow the dam’s construction.

“The government should take into account the opinions of the National Environment Board, which did not approve the environmental impact assessment of the Mae Wong Dam in 2002,” the statement said.

Srisuwan Janya is Yellow. The กลุ่มราษฎรรักษ์ป่า (Ras Rak Pa Group from Phrae) is not. Note Srisuwan’s primary emphasis on money and the Rak Pa group’s primary emphasis on people and water and forest (ป่า or Pa). Yellowness accounts for this article being in The Nation. The Prachatai article, linked via Ras Rak Pa Group from Phrae, is better but in Thai.

The Shinawatra Group loves to spend money and to rake-off the top… more than 40% in this case, apparently. On top of whatever Banharn, Newin, and the Democrats had dialed in last year.

Quick! Flood! Panic! Dam!

Don’t fall for it (again) Kon Thai. There is almost no forest left in Thailand. Save what remains and let it expand… don’t cut more for dams or for any other reason.

3 May

Yingluck adamant on [construction of] Mae Wong dam

The call of the wild … Bt13.28 billion.

About jfl

A 66 year-old American male living in Chiangrai, Thailand
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