Phrae villagers 'ordain' teak trees in battle against dam

national October 06, 2012 00:00

By Chularat Saengpassa
The Natio

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More than 200 residents of tambon Sa Iab along with members of the Assembly of the Poor and others fighting against dam projects in Phrae province, held a traditional ordination ceremony for teak trees as part of their opposition against the government's

The ceremony was held before they took part in the “Dam and Water Management with Bt350 billion: What People will Benefit and Lose” discussion held in Phrae’s tambon Sa Iab.

The tambon’s headman, Seng Kwanyuen, 60, said they held the “ceremony” yesterday and today after Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee announced that construction of the dam would begin in April next year. 
“Our standpoint has not changed over the past 30 years. We do not want the dam, because it will not help ease the flood situation and only destroy the last of the existing golden teak trees that we have. What has changed for us is that we now have more information and knowledge. We have already offered suggestions on how floods and droughts can be avoided without having to build any dams,” he said, adding that politicians pushing for the dam have not paid them much attention. 
If the 1.17-billion cubic metre dam is built, then the homes and farmlands of 3,600 people in the tambon will be affected.
Thong Saleetho, from the Tha Sae River basin conservation group in Chumphon, who is against the construction of the Tha Sae Dam, said she had joined the protest in tambon Sa Iab after learning that they faced the same problem. 
Similarly, Chao Yencham, who is fighting against the damming up of the Chomphu river basin, said 12 members of his group participated in the “ordination” ceremony.