Local people demand halt to dam construction in Mekong River

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UBON RATCHATHANI, March 14 – A boat procession cruised along the Mekong River Thursday as part of a campaign by locals who oppose the planned dam construction for power production here.

About 70 activists of a group calling themselves the Mekong River Lover Network of Ubon on Thursday held an activity to oppose the dam construction in the Mekong River.

Sime 30 boats with anti-dam banners floated along the nearly 20 kilometre trail in Khong Chiam district.

The campaign was initiated after a report that Thailand and a neighbouring country will jointly build a dam at Ban Khum-Tamui in Khong Chiam district to generate electricity.

Villagers are worried that the dam, if constructed, will lead to extensive flooding along the river from Khong Chiam district to Khemarat district in Ubon Ratchathani. In addition, it will also have an impact on tourist sites along the river.

Wai Pongpim, chairman of the group, demanded that the Thai government and governments of the Mekong River countries — China, Laos PDR, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam — call off all dam construction plans, review studies on possible impacts in all aspects as well as to consider rehabilitation for those affected by the dam if it is built.

They also call for promoting the use of sustainable energy such as solar energy and power production in households.