The Pheu Thai party plans to zero in on City Hall's flood management ability, concentrating on alleged corruption, in the upcoming Bangkok governor election campaign.
Race to stop the torrent
Troopers from the 12th Army Circle at Jakkrapong camp in Prachin Buri race against time to build a fence more than 100m long on the banks of the Prachin Buri River in Si Maha Phot district to slow down strong river currents. A backhoe is building an earthen embankment about 300m long to prevent run-off from reaching the district’s inner areas. MANIT SANUBBOON
It has already fired the first volley, accusing the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) of graft in the wake of widespread floods induced by heavy rain in many areas.
The involvement of Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Kamrongwit Thoopkrachang in the dredging of the city's sewers has suggested the party is drawing up political plans.
Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the party will submit a petition to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on Oct 3 to investigate the BMA's spending of flood management funds.
Mr Prompong said the focus is on the multi-billion-baht Rama IX-Ramkhamhaeng giant tunnel and other drainage tunnels which critics claim will be ineffective in drawing off floodwater from the capital.
He said the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission will also be asked to step in if the DSI probe suggests any wrongdoing.
"The rubbish found in the sewers in the recent dredging says a lot about how the BMA executives work," he said.
Mr Prompong was referring to mounds of sand and rocks which were found in the city's sewers in several areas last week.
Clogged sewers were part of the cause of flooding in many areas in Bangkok following heavy rain.
Mr Prompong also said City Hall's reluctance to take part in the government's testing of the canal network drainage capacity indicates it has something to hide.
However, despite stepping up attacks on the Democrat Party, Pheu Thai has yet to finalise its candidate to contest the election.
The party organised a two-day seminar in Phetchaburi's Cha-am district to prepare for next year's election.
Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap said the seminar did not discuss the choice of candidates.
He said the party would focus on drafting a policy platform which is based on the needs of the general public.
"One person can't change Bangkok. The party doesn't centre on one single individual," he said.
"We have to look at the big picture, especially the people's needs."
He said that based on the party's opinion survey, water management, traffic problems and living conditions top the list.
He said party members have been assigned to talk to people in all 50 Bangkok districts and gather information for use to formulate policy.
A party source said yesterday the party needs 1.2 million votes to win the Bangkok governor contest.
The party's current base of support is estimated at 600,000 votes while the Democrats are expected to attract 800,000 to 900,000 votes, the source said.
The source said network building in Bangkok is moving at a slow pace due to unity problems resulting from the dissolution of the Thai Rak Thai Party.
The number of party members in Bangkok is estimated at 7,000, the source said.
Meanwhile, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday defended the City Hall's drainage capacity, saying recent rains were unusually heavy.
He said there were more than 200 vulnerable spots but floodwaters in more than half of them could be drained within an hour.
He said the city would need more time to drain floodwater if the rainfall exceeds 60mm per hour.
The rain in some areas exceeded 140mm per hour, he said.
"I want the people and the media to take pictures when the flood is drained," he said.
"The floods in Bangkok last one or two hours and we are severely criticised. The floods in the provinces last for days and no one says anything."
MR Sukhumbhand also said the government would have to take the blame for half of the criticism because it has agreed to help the BMA with canal dredging.
"We have clearly divided responsibility relating to canal dredging," he said.
"So we have to jointly take responsibility if the capacity of flood drainage is diminished by the work."
About the author
- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth