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Protesters moving out of dam site

The Nation July 9, 2000

SRI SA KET - Villagers demonstrating against the Rasi Salai dam began moving away from their protest site at the dam yesterday, saying they were satisfied with Science Minister Arthit Urirat's promise to have the dam's water gates opened and the villagers' claims for compensation investigated.

On Thursday, the minister said he would order the Department of Energy Development and Promotion (DEDP) to open the water gates. He said that would be the best way to reduce the salinity level of the water and resolve the conflict between the DEDP and villagers. Paijit Silarak, leader of the protesters, said the villagers felt the minister's proposal showed he understood their problems.

The move appeared to mark the end of the villagers' two-year campaign for compensation for the damage caused by the project. The minister said after the water is released from the dam, the DEDP will conduct a survey to determine which villagers had been affected by flooding. But Paijit said if the DEDP does not agree with Arthit, the villagers will renew their protest.


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