Forest destroyed due to road construction to Thailand

Eleven News 12 June 2012

By Nilar | Translated and Edited by MYA

Over the year, rapid depletion of rainforest is witnessed on the Taninthayi Region mountain range due to clearing away of trees for four-lane road construction linking Dawei Deep Seaport of Myanmar to Kanchanaburi of Thailand.

The four-lane road project is in full swing to commission in 2015 and currently the alignment of road has already been paved, with an agenda for eight-lane road expansion in the future.

Researcher U Zaw Aung of Chulalongkongn University of Thailand said, “I was there at the site last February. The alignment of road is completed. The soil and debris coming out of the Taninthayi mountain range due to earthwork for pathway was thrown away over the Taninthayi River bank in the nearby valley gradually rolling down into the river. Even in this early stage, the situation is bad. If the construction of road is expanded from four-lane to eight-lane, the Taninthayi River will become shallow and unusable.”

The road communication project includes 105 mile long eight-lane super highway, railway tracks, power cable lines, oil and gas pipeline, and border entry / exit zones. The mega project is under implementation through build, operate and transfer (BOT) system for 60 years contract.

The researcher continued, “Many mountain ranges across the country are facing deforestation, however, the Taninthayi Mountain range is still covered with rain forests to a larger extent. Five crew members are working with heavy machinery in cutting the trees. The ongoing road construction work should be systematically control and managed. Otherwise the trees would be mostly destroyed along the route. I am not aware who is responsible for the construction of the road. The logo “Dawei Princess Company” is posted on the vehicle being used for carrying logs. If the work is not control, then the resources in the areas are at risk.”

Moreover, the Bangkok Post of Thailand reported that the Government of Thailand approved Thai Baht 31 billion for the construction of Dawei Special Economic Zone and the Dawei Deep Seaport.