The government's flood management commission and City Hall will meet today to resolve their row over the placement of sandbags in the city's drains.
Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi tells parliament yesterday he will discuss flood preventionmeasures with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration(BMA) today.MrPlodprasop is the chairman of the government’s Water and Flood Management Commission.Hehas beencriticised for not understanding flood preventiontechniques afterblamingtheBMA for pluggingsome drains withsandbags. CHANATKATANYU
Plodprasop Suraswadi, head of the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC) said he asked Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra to attend the commission's meeting to settle the sandbag conflict as suggested by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The discussion will be "academic," said Mr Plodprasop, who is also Science Minister. "I hope the BMA will present facts about the issue. I personally insist that what the BMA has been doing is technically wrong."
The disagreement between Mr Plodprasop and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration came to a head on Tuesday when the head of the WFMC ordered the BMA to remove all sandbags stuffed in the city's drains within 15 days.
The Bangkok governor refused, saying the city's drains are under his sole jurisdiction.
Mr Plodprasop said the sandbags disrupt water drainage, but the BMA claims the sandbags are part of the city's flood prevention measures and are needed to block water from canals during the high tide.
That argument isn't valid, according to Mr Plodprasop, who said all canals in Bangkok are at low levels after water was released in preparation for heavy rainfall.
The BMA's deputy governor Wallop Suwandee told the radio programme, Inside Thailand, the use of sandbags to block water is a simple method to cope with floods in small, specific areas.
"Areas in Bangkok are of different height," he said. "Srinakarintara Road, for example, is lower than the motorway.
"When it rains, water flows down from the motorway to flood the road. That is why the BMA uses sandbags to prevent water from the higher drains to flow into the road.
"After that, we pump out to nearby canals both the water on Srinakarintara Road and the water that was blocked by the sandbags."
In parliament yesterday, Mr Plodprasop said he had no intention of confusing the public in questioning the BMA's sandbag technique. He was replying on the prime minister's behalf to a query by Democrat MP Thana Chirawinij.
Mr Plodprasop said he only tried to find out who put sandbags, cement blocks and rocks into the city's drains, which could have been considered an attempt to sabotage City Hall after deputy Bangkok governor Theerachon Manomaiphibool put the question to the public.
Mr Plodprasop said he would apologise to the BMA and follow its advice if it was proved there was a misunderstanding on his part. If it turns out he is right, the BMA must remove the sandbags, or he would take action.
He insisted stuffing sandbags into the drains is a mistake because broken bags could clog the system. A better method, he said, would be to build bunkers around the drains.
Prompong Nopparit, the Pheu Thai Party's spokesman, said the BMA has seven days to remove the sandbags from the drains. If City Hall fails to do so, he will file a negligence charge with the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
About the author
- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth