Chadchart agrees to rehire convicts
The Covid-19 pandemic and state procurement law have kept convicts from being hired to clear out sewers in Bangkok, according to City Hall, despite Bangkok governor-elect Chadchart Sittipunt agreeing to have them return to work.
The issue was raised on Wednesday by Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin who instructed the Corrections Department to seek Mr Chadchart's permission to use the convicts, whose work would help minimise flooding in the capital.
Mr Somsak said they were contracted to provide the clean-up work until two years ago.
The previous governor, Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, declined to grant them permission to undertake the work, fearing the convicts weren't able to finish the job due to restrictions placed on their movements during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jessada Chanprapa, deputy director of the Drainage and Sewerage Department, said Bangkok runs a network of sewer and drainage systems spanning more than 6,000 kilometres. Clearing them out requires a lot of manpower and budget.
Mr Chadchart on Thursday agreed to allow the rehiring of convicts by the BMA.
He said he believed they have done a better job at cleaning the sewers than many private companies.
Mr Chadchart thanked Mr Somsak for seeking to work with the BMA. He said he planned to visit the justice minister after formally taking office.
"It's constructive for agencies to be joining hands. This creates opportunities for convicts so they can save some money for when they are released," he said.
On Thursday, Mr Chadchart visited Bangkok Yai district and floated a tax incentive measure to persuade people to lease their unused land to the BMA so it can be turned into small public parks for the benefit of communities.