BANGKOK, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Sunday a controversial coal-fired power plant project in southern Thailand might be scrapped without the Environmental Impact Assessment.
The premier told reporters that the power plant project in the southern Krabi province is yet to be endorsed by an official EIA report, otherwise it cannot be built by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGTA).
The National Energy Policy Council, chaired by Prayut, decided to proceed with the construction of the 800-MW power plant despite protests by a number of local villagers and environmental activists.
Meanwhile, the premier called on local and national politicians as well as activists to stop instigating the protesters, five leaders of whom are being detained at an army barracks in Dusit area of Bangkok, following their arrest by the police from outside the Government House on Saturday.
About 300 protesters, mostly being local villagers of Krabi, have gathered outside the Government House under close watch of policemen and vowed to continue to protest against the power plant project despite the arrest and detention of their leaders.
Energy Minister Anantaporn Kanchanarat contended that the project will apply the so-called Ultra Super Critical Technology, which he said will be environmentally friendly and will not become so hazardous to the health of local villagers as feared.
The villagers have insisted that the EGAT should use palm oil, which remains abundant in the South, instead of coal for the power plant.
Krabi, viewed as a major tourist attraction alongside other provinces on the Andaman Sea shores in southern Thailand, is facing shortage of electricity, thus prompting the power agency to build the power plant in addition to an existing local power plant which uses bunker oil.