Italian-Thai’s hydropower project in lower Myanmar allegedly stops

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Myanmar government has allegedly stopped a hydropower dam project with Italian-Thai Company in Taninthayi region of lower Myanmar due to concern of possible environmental and social impacts.

Italian-Thai’s dam project located near Myeik township will generate about 800 mega watt (MW) electricity upon completion, but it will pose flood risks to the thousands of acres of farms and lands in the area.

The environmental and social impact analysis reports suggest that the dam project should not continue. It has been informed to the President’s Office which has given approval to stop the project, sources said.

“We are glad to hear the news. We welcome this action which considers the welfare of the local people,” a local from Dawei township said.

Italian-Thai Development Plc, which is undertaking the Dawei Deep Sea Port and Special Economic Zone Project in Taninthayi, has planned to export generated electricity from the dam to Thailand, and to use some electricity in Dawei Deep Sea Port Project.

The Thai construction giant took a feasibility survey for the project in March 2011. They proposed the Ministry of Electrical Power to install the dam of 600MW capacity on Taninthayi River and signed a contract with the authorities.

The firm later planned to increase the capacity of the dam nearly twice. In other words, the dam was planned to generate about 1040MW electricity. Studies showed that the dam can cause floods in the area and about 61,000 acres of farmlands are exposed to the risk.

“The project is situated at Aungthawara area near Myeik township. The area is rich in gold resources. The company has completed preliminary studies. The project hasn’t started. But roads have been built,” a person who has insight about the project said.

Source: EMG

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