Pattaya Daily News

14 July 2010 :: 11:07:10 am 30833

Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge Closed over River Row

The Thai-Myanmar border crossing at the Tak-Myawaddy checkpoint remains closed on Wednesday, as Myanmar officials stand firm on their protesting of the current Thai riverbank protection scheme. The project is allegedly negatively affecting the adjacent Myanmar bank.
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Tak, the 14th of July 2010: On Monday the 12th of July, Myanmar officials closed the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge and more than 20 ports along the Moei River in protest of a riverbank protection construction being undertaken on the Thai side of the integral waterway.

At present all crossings, including the Friendship Bridge, have been closed to vehicular traffic but are still allowing citizens of both nations to pass freely “on-foot” over the border. Despite allowing foot traffic, many locals fear crossing into the neighbouring country in case the situation worsens and the border crossing is closed completely, leaving them stranded.

According to a report presented to the Thai authorities, Myanmar officials are concerned about the construction of a riverbank protection scheme on the Thai side of the Moei River, which is inherently eroding the banks on the Myanmar side. It is believed the temporary diversion of water away from the construction areas is causing increased erosion on the other side of the river.

In response to the situation, Mae Sot district chief Kittisak Tomornsak explained that the construction project was under contract between the Public Works, Town & Country Planning office and a private contractor. As such, the project had not been passed through the Thai-Myanmar Township Border Committee (TBC).

At present, Mr. Tomornsak is believed to be approaching the higher administrations for intervention in the situation, which could not be intervened upon by other agencies due to the exclusivity of the project. Attempts to explain the scheme, which will ultimately benefit the Moei River, to the Myanmar authorities are currently underway between the district administrations.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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