Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Locals oppose deep sea port project, fearing a repeat of Mab Ta Phut problems

Over 500 Satun residents oppose the Pak Bara deep-sea port project for fear of impacts on the environment and local livelihoods, as has happened in the Mab Ta Phut Eastern Seaboard.

On 2 July, the local people in Satun held a demonstration around the town in opposition to the Pak Bara deep-sea port project, and went to the provincial hall to submit a petition to PM Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Dr Samruam Danprachankul, of the provincial public health authority, received the petition on behalf of the provincial governor.

According to the opponents, a huge development scheme is planned for the province, following the deep-sea port.  They fear that it will have irreversible impacts on the local people in terms of religion, culture, livelihood and the environment.

The opposition is led by Aree Tingwang and Phuron Malasai from an artisanal fishery network, Sayun Srinoi from the Council of Political Development, Somyos Tohlang from the People’s Network for Development Watch, and Ananya Sanglee from a local consumers’ group.

They said the development scheme would massively exploit natural resources, including sand and quarry material, and damage the environment.

They found that the Marine Department is seeking a permit to use 7,000 rai of the Phetra archipelago, which is a national park, for the construction of the Pak Bara deep-sea port.

They asked the PM to review the project and delay construction to allow scrutiny according to the law and the 2007 Constitution.

The scheme includes the construction of a dual-track railway to connect the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Coast, a coast-to-coast oil pipeline, an oil depot occupying 5,000 rai at La-ngu Gulf, large-scale industrial estates, and an underground tunnel in the province.  

Source: http://www.prachatai3.info/journal/2010/07/30191