EEC panel endorses new smart city in Chon Buri

EEC panel endorses new smart city in Chon Buri

The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, yesterday greenlighted the new smart city development covering a 15,000-rai plot of land in Bang Lamung district, Chon Buri, 15 kilometres from U-tapao airport.

According to Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, the new smart city is estimated to draw 1.34 trillion baht's worth of investment over 10 years, creating 200,000 new jobs, more than 1.2 trillion baht's worth of employment value and contribute 2 trillion baht over 10 years.

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.

The new smart city is expected to be home to 300,000 people.

The new smart city development won the cabinet's approval on March 22. It is the fifth flagship infrastructure project in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

The new development project comes after a high-speed railway link 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. The piling work of the much-wanted high-speed railway link between three airports is scheduled to kick off in October this year.

Mr Kanit said earlier 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.

Public-private partnership deals are likely for hotels, government centres and housing estates, 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.

In a related development, the EEC Policy Committee yesterday also acknowledged the EEC Office's seawater desalination development projects at Map Ta Phut and Pattaya worth a combined 7.7 billion baht to ensure sufficient water supply in the EEC areas.

The developments will be in the form of a public-private partnership (PPP), with the joint investment project at Map Ta Phut to be handled by the EEC Office and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand.

The Pattaya project will be jointly implemented by the EEC Office and Pattaya Municipality.

The projects are expected to help supply 200,000 cubic metres of water per day to the EEC in 2027, rising to 300,000 cu m per day in 2037.

Desalination is an artificial process through which saline water -- usually seawater -- is converted into fresh water. The most common desalination processes are distillation and reverse osmosis.

The seawater desalination projects would help prevent possible water shortages in the EEC area if a severe drought were to take place.

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