Thai Communities Along The Mekong Want New Fund to Survive Development Project

Thai communities that are along the Mekong River, one of the largest rivers in Asia, want the government to create a fund for the villagers that are affected by development projects that are being done near the Mekong River.
The money for this fund will come from the development projects.
Ormbun Thipsuna stresses that this is not as a corporate social responsibility scheme. This tax will function a bit like the sin tax on cigarettes and alcohol that serves as a source of funding for health projects. He believes that only the government, not the developers of the projects, can handle this fund.
The communities in Loei, Nong Khai, Bung Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Amnat Charoen, and Ubon Ratchathani have suffered due to dams built upstream which stretches from Laos to China. Ormbun is the president of the network these communities are a part of.
A three-hour meeting recently occurred between members of the network and the government in which they discussed how the developments are affecting their livelihoods and the ecology of the river, and what the government can do to help the residents.
At this meeting, they discussed setting up a fund to rehabilitate the Mekong River. This fund will be called the Mekong River Rehabilitation Fund. A written proposal about this fund was given to Suporn Atthawong, a staff member in the Prime Minister’s Office at the time of the meeting.
Eventually, the network wants to have more say in the decision-making process of development along the Mekong River.
According to Chawian Kongsima, president of Tambon Nakhon Local Administration in Pak Cham district, Loei province, the government should stop purchasing electricity from the Sanakham dam in Laos.
The government of Laos is considering building a hydropower plant less than two kilometers from Chiang Kan district. Construction of this dam is scheduled to begin in 2021 by a Chinese company. The dam is expected to be completed by 2028 at a cost of 6.4 billion baht (about $210 million). The Thai government has agreed to sell the electricity it produces from this dam to Laos.

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