Click her for Lao version/ຄລິກບ່ອນນີ້ເພື່ອອ່ານພາສາລາວ
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva assured a
Mekong river conservation group that he will bring up the issue of dams
construction on the Mekong river for discussion with the international community.
Meanwhile, the environmental group insists that it will
continue to oppose the purchase of electricity from Laos.
On June 18, 2009, the Mekong River conservation group TERRA or Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance, which is a coalition of more than 20 international and regional environmental
organizations, officially submitted a letter of opposition to the construction
of hydro-electric dams on the Mekong River to the Thai Prime
Minister in Bangkok, together with a list of petitioners around the world who have sent
in as many as 16,380 postcards to express the same sentiment.
Mr. Abhisit assured TERRA representatives that he will take up the issue of dam construction on the Mekong
River for discussion at the bilateral, regional and international levels, whether
with the Mekong River Commission, with Thailand’s fellow ASEAN members, or with
ASEAN’s dialogue partners.
However, he stressed that the Thai government alone cannot
make a decision to agree or disagree with the construction of any particular
dam on the Mekong River as the Mekong is an international river, belonging to
many countries; therefore, it is necessary for his government to consult with other
And the consultation would
be based on data obtained from surveys that conform to international standards
and are acceptable to all parties involved.
A total of 11 dam projects have been planned for construction on the
segment of the Mekong river that runs through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.
Regarding the issue of electricity
demand in Thailand, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva confirmed that his government will order
concerned agencies to conduct a new comprehensive study and assessment because,
although current electricity demands in Thailand have decreased, he believed it
is the result of the global financial crisis; however, when his country’s
economy picks up and expands in the future, demands would rise. Thus, it is
necessary to conduct a new study and analyze the real situation.
Meanwhile, the conservation group, Thailand-based
TERRA, asserts it will continue to relentlessly oppose dam construction on the
Mekong river. TERRA members say they will also continue their campaign to disseminate
information among Thai people to inform them of
the need to oppose electricity purchase from Thailand’s neighbors, especially
from Laos and Myanmar. The Thai government has agreed in principle to purchase
electricity from Laos for a total of 7,000 megawatts by 2015, which TERRA says
far exceeds the actual domestic demand.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on June 19,
2009. Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao. (English
translation by Buasawan Simmala and Dara Baccam.)