Mekong Eye

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Thailand

  • Gunkul studies feasibility of infrastructure fund for expansion

    02/19/2016

    Renewable-energy company Gunkul Engineering is conducting a feasibility study on setting up an infrastructure fund to improve cash flow and control its debt as it expects to require more money to expand both locally and abroad.

    Gunkul president Sopacha Dhumrongpiyawut said the company had appointed Siam Commercial Bank as financial adviser for the proposed infrastructure fund, which should be around Bt4 billion to Bt5 billion in size.

    The infrastructure fund would ensure that the company had sufficient cash flow to expand, and it might not increase capital in the short term.

  • Thai communities vow to appeal against Laos dam

    02/17/2016

    Even after losing a battle in the Thailand Administrative Court, a group of Thai villagers are not giving up. They have filed appeal after losing the first community-led lawsuit in the region to challenge a large dam on the Mekong river.

    On 25 Dec 2015 the Administrative Court ruled in favour of five Thai state agencies accused of ‘illegally’ signing an agreement to buy power from the 1,200-megawatt Xayaburi dam in Laos – the first dam to be built on the mainstream of the Lower Mekong river.

  • Coal plant in Thepa ‘would inflame the insurgency’

    02/16/2016

    ACTIVISTS have voiced concern that a coal-fired power plant proposed for Thepa district in Songkhla will cause more violence in the Deep South – as mosques, a religious school and Muslim cemeteries would have to be moved to make way for the plant.

    They also claimed that all three public hearings about the plant and its coal transport pier were not held properly. They have said the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) should revoke the Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) on the project.

    Yesterday, the Southernmost People’s Network of Community Right and Environment Safeguard for Peace (Permatamas) and a group of locals and students from Prince of Songkla University’s Pattani Campus gathered at ONEP to give a petition to the agency’s secretary general.

  • Mea Moh Coal Burning Plant

    Coal Power on the Rise: Mekong Region Digs In

    02/14/2016

    While initiatives by the Asian Development Bank, ASEAN, United States, Japan, France and the private sector aim to advance renewable energy within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), coal-fired power plants are slated to become an increasingly larger share of the region’s electricity generating portfolio.

  • Section 44 to clear way for setting up new Special Economic Zones, and possible new Biomass Power Plant without EIA

    02/11/2016

    General Prayut Chan-o-Cha, leader of the National Council for Peace and Order used authority under section 44 declared 2 NCPO orders on January 20. The first one is on the exception on the enforcement of city plans in some project types 1) power plant 2) power plant gas that do not use natural gas for delivery or disposal 3) factory that improve overall quality of products ( sewage treatment plant/incinerator) 4) factory for sorting and landfill 5) factory for recycling. Another NCPO order was to exclude the application of the city planning and building control laws in the area of special economic development zone. This also includes various local ordinances which are the limitations of the ban on construction, modification, decommissioning, moving and using, or changing the use of buildings.

  • Faces of Dawei, Faces of Change

    02/07/2016

    Dawei is a seaside community of less than 5,000 families, in one of the world’s least developed corners. Myanmar’s ever widening borders, however, have lured investments here on a scale beyond anything ever conceived within Southeast Asia.

    The Dawei Special Economic Zone environs nearly 200 square kilometers of industrial development, a deepsea port and associated road, rail and pipeline links to neighboring Thailand and beyond.

    Photojournalist Taylor Weidman captures the faces of Dawei as they they contemplate what lies ahead. Will their fisheries and betel nut farms still provide viable livelihoods? Will new jobs actually be available to them and their children or largely to higher skilled prospects from abroad? Will environmental controls be sufficient and sufficiently enforcement to protect the community, and the natural resources that now sustain it?

  • Risks loom for Myanmar’s Kyaukphyu Economic Zone

    02/03/2016

    The end of 2015 saw a series of major announcements and decisions regarding Myanmar’s latest special economic zone (SEZ) in Kyaukphyu township of Rakhine State. In late December, Myanmar’s government approved the demarcation of land for the SEZ and awarded tenders to develop the SEZ to a CITIC Group-led consortium.

  • Opening of Mekong River School: passing on knowledge on ecology, culture & environment to next generations

    02/02/2016

    Last week, the group of Thai Society of Environmental Journalist and Thai Journalist Association together with 15 news outlets went to Chiang Kong district in Chiangrai province to follow up on the progress of the establishment of the second phase of Special Economic Zone, and the impact on the surrounded communities. They also attended the opening of Mekong School, which is situated on Mekong River bank in Chiang Kong River. Mekong School is set up under the philosophy “Respect for nature and Faith in humanity justice” by villagers and different stakeholders to provide learning space Mekong ecology, culture and environment of Mekong River. Under “Field of Learning” concept, Mekong School provides knowledge on Mekong River history, local cultures and academic researches on Mekong. The school also plans to set up Mekong Library for database and research purposes.

  • Water management requires a more holistic view

    02/01/2016

    As of Tuesday, the combined amount of usable water retained in seven major dams, including Bhumibol and Sirikit, that feed the Central plains stood at around 3,300 million cubic metres, or 18 per cent of their combined capacity of around 24,700 million cu.

    The National Water Resources Committee (NWRC) came up with this figure at the end of November as it does every year, and after seeing these numbers, I must say it is of serious concern and I wonder how we will be able to survive yet another drought.

  • Is SEZ on Boon Reung forest; destroying Chiang Khong and Mae Kong River?

    01/29/2016

    There is high possibility that the Special Economic Zone will take away more than 1,190 acres of Boon Rueng forest from the community. There is also equally possibility that the Mekong River ecosystem will be destroyed if Boon Rueng forest transform into Special Economic Zone according to Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha’s vision. The abundant Boon Rueng forest in this wetlands is currently being nominated for SEZ consideration by Joint Public Private Committee, Office of the Permanent Secretary of Interior. If approve, half of the forest will be replaced with factories. According to the survey, there are more than 60 species of plants and 211 species of animal, especially endangered species such as Fishing Cat in Boon Rueng forest. Obviously, Boon Rueng forest is not ‘degraded forest’ as it was claimed.

  • Administrative court rules in favour of Egat over Xayaburi Dam

    01/19/2016

    THE Administrative Court Friday dismissed complaints over the Xayaburi Dam against five state agencies. However, the 37 plaintiffs, from eight Mekong provinces, say they will appeal further.

    The judge, who read the verdict, said the defendants had fully complied with their obligation according to the law, so the case was dismissed.

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