The Central Administrative Court yesterday rejected a request by Saraburi residents to revoke a permit issued to a power plant operator to draw water from the Pasak River.
Twenty-six residents, who are members of the Kaeng Khoi Conservation Group, filed a complaint with the court in March 2007.
They asked the court to rule on the validity of the permit granted by the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) to Gulf Power Generation Co, the operator of Kaeng Khoi II power plant in Kaeng Khoi district.
The residents said insufficient water would be left for farms and households if the plant takes water from the river.
The court yesterday rejected the request, saying the department has the authority to manage water in the river, including supplying the agricultural and industrial sectors.
The judges considered the RID's water management plan and found its demands would not cause a water shortage. It also said the water permit issued to Gulf Power Generation was lawful.
"The RID has set a condition for the plant to stop pumping water from the river in case of severe drought, so the RID has prepared measures to deal with any water shortage problem," it said.
The court also rejected the residents' call to revoke the plant's construction permit issued by the Industrial Works Department. Opponents of the plant said the permit was illegal because it is situated in a community area.
The court said the department followed proper procedure in issuing the permits, including holding public hearings and putting in place environmental impact mitigation measures.
Somkid Duangkaew, one of the 26 plaintiffs, said state agencies favoured the industrial sector and neglected the plight of farmers.
"Farmers have been told to stop growing off-season crops because of the water shortage, but the power plant can use the water as much as it wants," he said.
About the author
- Writer: Apinya Wipatayotin