Environmentalists have demanded that the government suspend its 350-billion-baht flood prevention scheme due to concerns that the projects may not be successful and that there may be bidding irregularities.
Hannarong Yaowalers, chairman of the Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations on Environmental Protection, said at a news conference yesterday that local environmentalists will submit a letter opposing the scheme to the government.
Mr Hannarong said he represented a group of environmentalists who disagreed with the water and flood management scheme, which will be overseen by Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi.
Mr Hannarong said he was worried about bidding transparency and the possibility of the projects failing.
He expressed disappointment with government efforts to rush the mega-projects without assessing their impact on communities and the environment.
He accused the government of ignoring the public's rights to have a say in environmental management.
"We think the government should immediately suspend the projects," Mr Hannarong said.
"We have not heard them talk about health and environment impact assessment studies, required by law for any harmful projects. Worse, the government has already invited business operators to bid for the projects."
Mr Hannarong said he had read the terms of reference for the projects and felt that very few construction companies in the country could meet the qualifications criteria set by the government.
Mr Plodprasop, who is also chairman of the Water and Flood Management Commission, admitted on Tuesday for the first time that 80% of flood and water management plans had already been proposed by state agencies.
But he said he still wants to see new techniques and suggestions from the private sector. He said that was why private firms have been asked to submit conceptual designs for projects to the government.
Mr Hannarong said the mega-projects would not succeed easily if they are carried out without public participation.
"We don't think the projects will be finished under the government's timeframe as they need to have public participation as required by the constitution, especially on the issue of dam construction," he said.
"[The projects] will not be easy to pull off as they will be met with strong protests from locals."
The Water and Flood Management Commission will announce the bid winners by the end of January.
About the author
- Writer: Apinya Wipatayotin