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Govt damned over Pak Mun

Pak Mun River residents slammed yesterday's Cabinet move to let water levels determine the opening of dam gates, saying the government was just trying to buy time.

Published on July 18, 2007



The Ubon Ratchathani governor was told to open the Pak Mun Dam spillway gates when the river was high.

Deputy government spokesman Natthawat Suthiyothin said the Cabinet set up a water-management committee chaired by the governor and supervised by the Interior Ministry.

It altered regulations on the opening and closing times to reflect "natural circumstances" as demanded by the Assembly of the Poor and Uthai Thani officials on July 4, he said.

The Cabinet also gave the new panel authority to order the gates' opening and closing without having to ask for Cabinet approval each time.

The gates used to be closed for eight months and open for four months each year.

Nanthachote Chairat, an adviser to the Assembly of the Poor, said the Cabinet was just procrastinating by throwing the problem back to the locals to fight it out among themselves. He accused the government of setting up a group of villagers, village headmen and kamnan who agreed to keep the dam's gates shut so they had a supply of water to irrigate their farms.

This was despite the villagers' request to allow fish to swim upstream and spawn so they could engage in seasonal fishing, he said while dismissing reports that his group had a meeting with the premier on July 4.

The group's representatives merely talked with an adviser to PM's Office Minister Thirapat Serirangsan on July 12, he said.

That was the same day that the assembly members were dragged out from Government House's fourth gate while waiting for the rain to ease and for the answer to why the Pak Mun Dam issue had not been tabled at that week's Cabinet meeting, he added.


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