Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from Asean countries have committed to making collective efforts to push for the banning of dam construction in the Asean countries by China which can damage natural environment, according to the joint meeting of Asean People’s Forum (2014) held in March 20. China’s power demands have been on the rise.
Srisuwan Kuankachor, assistant director from Thailand-based TERRA said, “China built six dams on the upstream of Mekong River. Plans are under way to build Saraburi dam in Laos, on the downstream of Mekong.”
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) was formed by agreement between the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, to jointly manage the shared water resources and economic development of the Mekong River. But MRC’s works remain ineffective. Like the Mekong River, Myanmar should strongly oppose the construction of dam on Thanlwin River. Myanmar government should oppose the project to be implemented on the upper reach of Thanlwin River in cooperation with the CSOs.
Construction of large-scale hydropower projects by China on the rivers of Asean countries has caused natural disasters such as flooding, damages of river courses and harmed the socio status of local people.
“The government’s power distribution to 26 percent of the country’s total area is facing many difficulties,” said Myint Aung from REAM, adding: power distribution to the remaining 74% will take much time. People no longer wait for it. Some regions see the running of self-reliant small-scale power generation system. The government should provide them with assistances (not only in legal advice but also in cash) for their growth. He also advised that efforts should be made for more power generation to meet the country’s power demands.