Biggest dam to be built

Hanoi, November 27:

Despite years of opposition from environmentalists, a huge dam project formally got under way in Laos today with the laying of the foundation stone. The Nam Theun II project survived numerous and tenacious detractors, a long delay in securing project finance and hesitation on the part of its main engineering firm. Premier Bounnhang Vorachit was joined by his Thai counterpart Thaksin Shinawatra on the site, 250-km southeast of Vientiane, to mark the start of work on the project which aims to supply power to 17 of neighbouring Thailand’s provinces from 2009. For communist Laos, the $1.25 billion project is concrete proof of the government’s willingness to use its resources.