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Villagers threaten toi close forest

Villagers threaten to close forest

Bangkok Post, December 8, 1997

Conservation groups yesterday said residents along the Thai-Burmese gas
pipeline routes would seal off parts of the forests in Kanchanaburi if the
government fails to come up with a clear decision in seven days whether to
suspend the construction work through the forests.

They earlier submitted a letter to Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai through
Prime Minister's Office Minister Supatra Masdit on December 2 demanding
that the pipeline be rerouted.

The group issued a statement to show their intention after Khunying Supatra
inspected the pipeline route in Thong Pha district yesterday.

Campaign for Popular Democracy secretary-general Phiphop Dhongchai said is
the government failed to clearly declare in seven days whether to suspend
the construction work through forests, villagers would seal off the forests
at the Chet Mit Mine, Huay Pak Khok and Rai Pa village beginning on
December 14.

While awaiting the government's reply, the groups and local residents will
watch closely to make sure the Petroleum Authority of Thailand did not do
any damage to the forests, he said.

The PTT signed contracts to buy natural gas from the Yadana and Yetagon
fields in Burma's Andaman sea and is responsible for laying the 260-km long
pipeline in Thailand.

The route started from I-tong village and ends at a gas power plant of the
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand in Ratchaburi

The construction work began early this year after the National Environment
Board approved the project's environment impact assessment.