Picture: Bangkok Post

Construction of a soft drinks plant in Thailand that was expected to produce Red Bull in its portfolio has been abandoned following strong local opposition to the project.

KTD Property Development Co, which is affiliated with Red Bull, has cancelled its 3 billion baht (US$90 million) beverage plant in Khon Kaen province, and could move it to a neighbouring country, it has said in a media release.

The plant, located in the Ban Dong area of Ubonrat district, had reportedly been approved by the Interior Ministry for construction in cleared forest despite opposition from local residents. The site had been selected because of its natural water catchment.

KTD Property Development Co said its land-use application complied with all rules and regulations and claimed it had received local support through public hearings with people of 15 villages in the vicinity of the forest land.

But in the statement, it said the project had been cancelled because some groups of people were opposing the land’s use and it expected that difficulties would follow if the work continued.

“As a result, we decided to cancel all our investment in this area, which would total around 3 billion baht. We are now considering alternative locations for our plant, possibly in a neighbouring country since this plant was primarily intended to be a major production base for CLMV markets,” the company said. CLMV is an acronym for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The Bangkok Post reported that concerns about the impact of the plant on the local community emerged after an activist petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the Interior Minister and five others for alleged abuse of power in relation to permission for the use of public land.