Hot! Thai Villagers Fight Plans for Laos Mekong River Dam

A group of 37 Thai villagers have filed a lawsuit in the Administrative Court to cancel an agreement for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to buy almost all of the power from a dam along the Mekong River.

The move would black a state-run company from buying electricity generated by the hydropower dam in Laos and halt a $3.6 billion project along the river. Ch. Karnchang Pcl (CK), PTT Pcl and Electricity Generating Pcl (EGCO) are among major shareholders of Xayaburi Power Co., the dam’s operator.

According to A member of Living River Siam, one of the groups that assisted the villagers, “EGAT signed a contract without the process of consulting or giving information to stakeholders.”

The case threatens to derail a project that Laos is depending on the bolster the smallest economy in the 10-members Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Since 2006, Thailand’s Administrative Court has blocked EGAT’s plans for an initial public offering, halted 76 government-approved industrial projects, and delayed a sale of high-speed mobile-phone licenses.

Thailand’s constitution prohibits projects or activities that may harm the environment without public consultation, impact studies and opinions from independent organizations. It also gives people the right to sue state enterprises.

The villagers filed the lawsuit against five Thai government entities including EGAT, according to documents distributed to reporters at the court by the Thai People’s Network of Eight Mekong Provinces, an activist group.


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