Plodprasop says Irrigation Department assessmentcan't be applied guarantees new research when Bt350bn plan kicks off

BANGKOK: -- THE Govt has scrapped the current version of the environmental statement relating to the controversial Mae Wong Dam in Nakhon Sawan, stating it's going to start a fresh research having a target flood prohibition.

The environmental and health impact assessment (EHIA)carried out by the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) couldn't be utilized, while centered on handling watery issues instead of flood prohibition. Therefore, he explained, he'd have the Office of National Water and Flood Management Plan to produce new research, that should start after the public hearing on the Bt350-billion water- and flood-management plan is finished by Dec . and a agreement is finalized together with the contractor by Feb ..

The Mae Wong Dam project belongs to the government's water- and flood-management scheme.

It was initially recommended in 1984 simply because of the RID with regard to a plan to research irrigation development in the Sakae Krang watershed - a tributary of the Chao Phraya River. The Japan International Cooperation Agency supported this particular proposal.

The RID continues to be publishing |its natural effect assessment (EIA) report to a board of specialists and also the National Environmental Board (NEB) since 1994, however the statement persists obtaining refused because of unfinished information.

According to the latest EHIA, the dam would include 12,900 rai of the Sob Kok mountain, which usually straddles Nakhon Sawan's Mae Wong district and Kamphaeng Phet's Khanu Woralaksaburi area. Also, some 12,300 rai of this region is catagorized in Mae Wong National Park. In accordance with the statement, over 12,900 rai of woods, made up of mixed deciduous, dry dipterocarp and bamboo types, would be required to be cleaned. The dam development will moreover impact the head watershed and the residence in excess of 400 wildlife species, such as tigers.

On the other hand, the dam is predicted to maintain 258 million cubic metres of water and assist irrigate more than 291,900 rai of arable land in Nakhon Sawan, Kampaeng Phet and Uthai Thani.

In the mean time, RID director-general Lertviroj Kowattana stated his division wouldn't proceed along with obtaining the NEB's panel of specialists to accept the EHIA.

Report 'lacked accurate info'

Even so, environment specialist Uthit Kud-In, a former member of the environmental specialists board, stated the EHIA executed by the RID didn't deliversuitable information regarding the impact the dam would've. He added that the statement lacked appropriate information about how the woodland region and aquatic wildlife is going to be affected by the project.

That's the reason why the following statement seemed to be unacceptable

The actual major concern is the best way to stop destruction attributed to upstream runoff. We need to get the best answer to deal with this issue by P.M

A week ago, 1000s of peo-ple, such as conservationists, gathered in the capital to protest opposed to the Mae Wong Dam project.

Lertviroj was making his remarks in yesterday's program together with the House Board on Governmental Growth, Mass Communica-tions and Public Participation, where oppositions and supporters of the particular dam project, as welll as relevan organizations accountable for the Mae Wong scheme, seemed and outlined their grounds.

The board is going to invite Plodprasop and Sasin Chalermlarp, head of Seub Nakhasathien Foundation, who led a 13-day, 368-km march from the project site in Nakhon Sawan to Bangkok on Sunday, to share the concern. Board associates could possibly compensate inspection visits to the project site soon. Plodprasop got previously eliminated any discussion with Sasin.