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Military units conducting `psychological operations'

Kultida Samabuddhi   Bangkok Post



The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives asked the military to conduct ``psychological operations'' in Phrae's Song district to pave way for construction of the Kaeng Sua Ten dam.

Villagers have opposed the 8.2-billion baht dam for more than 10 years.

The Irrigation Department's progress report on the project indicates the army's psychological and intelligence operation units were asked to monitor the anti-dam movement in tambon Sa-iab, the dam site.

The report, sent to Agriculture Minister Somsak Thepsuthin yesterday, said the ministry hired teachers from schools to promote the dam.

Mr Somsak said he would visit the site dam to talk to opponents. Phrae, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, and Nakhon Sawan people had been hit by drought and floods every year due to the absence of devices to control water flow, he said.

The dam would go in Mae Yom national park, home of teak forest and wild peafowl.

The project has been put on hold since the Chuan Leekpai government called an indefinite halt in 1997, as demanded by the Assembly of the Poor.

Opponents said the project would destroy 60,000 rai of pristine forest and more than 1000 families would have to move. Moreover, the dam was unlikely to tackle drought and flood problems as claimed.

Kamnan Chum Sa-iabkong, spokesman for the opponents, said he was shocked that the department could think of using the military to win over local people and keep an eye on opponents.


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