Monday, May 25, 2015Monday, May 25, 2015

Thai villagers in legal challenge against Laos' Xayaburi dam

Published on Aug 7, 2012 2:54 PM
A man casts a fishing net on the banks of the Mekong river in Phnom Penh on Dec 8, 2011. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thai opponents of a planned multi-billion dollar dam in Laos submitted a lawsuit to a court in Bangkok on Tuesday seeking to prevent their country buying power from the hydropower project.

Fifty Thai villagers representing communities along the Mekong river filed the suit against the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the energy ministry and the Thai cabinet at the Administrative Court.

"The river is our life. A dam will definitely affect our lives," said 52-year-old Mr Niwat Roykaew, who lives alongside the Mekong in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai with his family and relies on it for water and fish.

Communist Laos, one of the world's most under-developed nations, hopes the Xayaburi dam will help it become "the battery of South-east Asia".

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!