Activists urge authorities to stay neutral, open door for info-based debates

national March 01, 2017 19:14

By Pratch Rujivanarom
The Nation

The anti coal-fired power plant group met the governor of Krabi and called on him to help end the conflict in the province via information-based discussions.



The “Save Andaman from Coal” group and concerned residents who are against the 870 megawatt coal-fired power plant gathered at Krabi City Hall yesterday asking to meet with Governor Pinit Boonlert. Upon meeting the governor later in the afternoon, group leader Akkaradej Chakjinda submitted a request asking him to mediate between opposition and support groups and help ease the conflict with information-based discussions.

“We don’t want to see conflicts and tension in our hometown, especially since both sides are using different sets of information. We suggest that the governor and provincial authorities stay neutral and provide a space for both sides to discuss the coal-fired plant project and help resolve the conflict,” Akkaradej said.

Another prominent member of the group Prasitchai Nu-nuan also called on the provincial authorities to stop using their authority to build support groups for the coal-fired power plant. 

“The prime minister’s order is clear – he wants the authorities to have a clear understanding of the project, not set up support groups for it. If this continues, it will be unjust and create conflicts in our province,” Prasitchai said. 

Earlier last month, an official letter was sent by the Klong Thom district office asking all villages in the district to send representatives to City Hall to show support for the project. However, this was later denied and the deputy district chief was removed from the post. 

Meanwhile, the governor insisted that the provincial authorities were always neutral in relation to the coal-fired project and that the province will present these demands to the government. 

“The EHIA [Environmental and Health Impact Assessment] process for the project will have to start all over again and it is the duty of academics to oversee that. We will ensure that the provincial authorities do not interfere in this procedure,” he said. 

On the same day, the people’s network in Satun submitted a petition to the provincial governor asking the authorities to stop the upcoming public hearing for the Pak Bara deep-sea port and revise the EHIA for the project. They claim the EHIA was not properly conducted and could cause conflicts in the future. 

The first public hearing for the Pak Bara project will be held on March 16 in La-ngu district. 

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