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Society & Global
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Voices of Opposition to the Four Major Rivers Project are Spreading
제 125 호    발행일 : 2011.05.28 


 
 
The Four Major Rivers Project in Chungcheongbuk-do is drawing to an end, after being more than 70 percent completed. Many citizens and organizations in Chungbuk are protesting against the Chungbuk provincial government. The conflict between Lee Si-jong, the governor of the Chungbuk, and the environmental groups is especially strong.
There have been conflicts since Lee Si-jong was elected as the governor of Chungbuk. At that time, Lee Si-jong received a large number of votes from the environmental groups by pledging to reconsider the Four Major Rivers Project.
After Lee Si-jong was elected as the governor, the Chungbuk provincial government organized a committee to fulfill the pledge. However, the committee has been coming into conflict with the civic groups due to its confusing policies. In addition, they have been proceeding with the business related to the Four Major Rivers Project without any modification or halt.
In April, 25 civic groups in the Chungbuk area held a press conference and demanded Lee Si-jong's official apology about the abrogation of the pledge 'Sweeping reconsideration about the Four Major Rivers Project', which Lee Si-jong once promised to civic groups. In the case of the Chungbuk Association for Life and Peace, three female delegates had their hair shaved in front of the provincial government building.
However, the Chungbuk provincial government flatly refused the civic groups' demands by saying, "The Four Major Rivers Project in Chungbuk was started after an investigation committee checked it, and we had already accepted many environmental groups' requests before we started it. In addition, what the governor pledged was the reconsideration of the Four Major River Project, not the opposition of it.
 Therefore, the protests against the Four Major Rivers Project didn't obtain noticeable results and were abating. However, in the several areas of Gyeong-buk, including Gumi, the water supply was cut off early this month. Pointing out this incident, environmental groups are desperately holding demonstrations again.
This incident occurred as a cofferdam around the Nakdong River collapsed. A cofferdam is an enclosure constructed to allow water to be pumped out to create a dry work environment. The cofferdam around  Nakdong River is a three-meter pool which Korea Water Rosources Corporation made to control the rate of water inflow into the reservoir. It is assumed that the cofferdam collapsed as flow velocity became faster because of the Four Major Rivers Project.
The incident was settled, and the water is supplied properly now. However, local residents suffered a great inconvenience and many companies were damaged financially because they had to stop operating their factories while the water supply was cut off. One electronics company lost 300 million won per hour. Some problems of the Four Major Rivers Project were revealed by the incident, and opposing opinions are spreading throughout the country.
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