Thai dam project in Burma suspended

Key Issues: 

Bangkok Post 5 September 2007

Thailand's state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand decided Tuesday to suspend its exploration for a new hydropower dam on Salween River until the Burmese regime can assure safety.

The state enterprise insisted the postponement would not affect Thailand’s energy situation.

Kraisi Karnasuta, Egat governor revealed the Hatkyi project in Burma had to be put on hold indefinitely after Egat employee Samarn Kantameun was killed in an attack over the weekend.

He was the second victim. Earlier, a geologist stepped on a landmine near the project site last May.

Meanwhile, the other 47 Egat staff have moved to a safer zone in Burma to board a plane Egat had arranged to transport them to Thailand.

The rebel Karen National Union (KNU) was accused of firing weapons into the Thai workers'camp. However, KNU secretary-general Pado Manza denied the claim, saying Burma’s government and Karen DKBA forces were active in the area.

Thai Energy Minister Piyasavasti Amaranand said the dam was a bilateral effort. However, the safety of Thai officials was a priority. He has urged authorities to expedite power plant development in Laos if the plan in Burma was uncertain. (TNA)