Cabinet okays EEC smart city deal

Cabinet okays EEC smart city deal

Investment tallies B1.34tn over decade

The EEC Office estimates the new smart city would draw 1.34 trillion baht worth of investment over 10 years and create 200,000 new jobs.  Pattarapong Chatpattarasill
The EEC Office estimates the new smart city would draw 1.34 trillion baht worth of investment over 10 years and create 200,000 new jobs.  Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

The cabinet approved a smart city development on Tuesday, the fifth flagship infrastructure project in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), with investment worth a combined 1.34 trillion baht over 10 years.

The new flagship development project comes after a high-speed railway linkage between three airports; the development of U-tapao airport; the Map Ta Phut Industrial Port Phase 3; and Laem Chabang Port Phase 3.

The four existing flagship development projects are worth a combined 655 billion baht, with the private sector providing 416 billion baht and the government making up the remainder.

The EEC Office already signed contracts with the private sector for four projects.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul said the cabinet also approved in principle on Tuesday allocating 15 billion baht from fiscal 2023 and 4 billion baht in 2024 to finance the new development project.

Of the total spending, 10 billion baht is for the expropriation of Sor Por Kor (agricultural land reform) land plots from villagers.

According to Ms Traisulee, the government wants the new development to become a world-class smart city by 2037.

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said his office estimated the new smart city would draw 1.34 trillion baht worth of investment over 10 years, creating 200,000 new jobs and generating revenue of 2.77 billion baht for the government over 50 years.

The new project is expected to generate income for the economy worth 2 trillion baht over 10 years and create residential areas comprising 2,000 rai.

The new smart city development covering 15,000 rai includes 14,619 rai of Sor Por Kor land in Bang Lamung district, Chon Buri, 15 kilometres from U-tapao airport.

The project is slated to feature financial centres, regional headquarters, and centres of government agencies, digital industry, logistics services, research centres and residential buildings for workers.

According to Mr Kanit, of the total investment in the new smart city development, 37.7 billion baht will stem from government agencies, 131 billion from public-private partnerships and 1.18 trillion from private investment.

He said the EEC Office plans to ask for 19 billion baht from the government's fiscal budgets in 2023 and 2024 to finance the infrastructure development for the new smart city project.

Public-private partnership deals are likely for hotels, government centres, and housing estates, said Mr Kanit, while private investment is expected to engage in research centres and education centres, business centres and businesses for the future such as clean energy, digital and logistics.

He said the new smart city development should also reduce congestion in Pattaya and Rayong and is expected to draw an additional 1.5 million people to live in the three EEC provinces over five years, up from 2.8-2.9 million currently.

The EEC Office also plans to build residential projects for young workers such as vocational technicians using 86,657 rai of deteriorated Sor Por Kor plots in Bang Lamung district, said Mr Kanit.

The EEC conducted a preliminary survey of 350 families who own the rights to 14,619 rai of Sor Por Kor land and found they are willing to allow the agency to acquire their land.

Sor Por Kor landowners each earn only 1,000 baht per rai per month because the area lacks water supply and they can grow crops only once per year, depending on annual rainfall.

Section 36 of the EEC Act of 2018 allows the EEC to utilise Sor Por Kor land.

There is 86,657 rai of Sor Por Kor land in the EEC.

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