Drain gang returns to city sewers

Drain gang returns to city sewers

Inmates begin work clearing blockages

The first group of inmates deployed to unclog sewer and drainage systems in Bangkok since the Covid-19 pandemic began two years ago started work yesterday, City Hall said.

A total of 72 inmates from Non- thaburi and Pathum Thani central prisons and the Bangkok Remand Prison were put to work dredging the sewers and drainage system in Huai Khwang district.

They were the first group of inmates hired for the job in more than two years.

Inmates working on the sewage network were a common sight before the pandemic struck, but the work was subsequently put on hold as Covid-19 began to spread more widely.

Shortly after Chadchart Sittipunt was elected Bangkok governor on May 22, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin called on him to resume the hiring of inmates for the dredging work.

Mr Chadchart accepted Mr Somsak's request and the first group of inmates got to work yesterday, almost two weeks earlier than the initial plan for them to start on July 1.

Yesterday, as Mr Chadchart inspected the operation, he thanked Mr Somsak for supplying the inmates for the job.

The governor said the inmates will be responsible for dredging 530km of the capital's 3,390km sewer and drainage system.

The dredging work, to be completed in three months, will be financed by a City Hall budget for this current fiscal year, according to Mr Chadchart who insisted keeping sewer and drainage systems clear was vital for fighting floods.

It has been reported that City Hall is paying the Corrections Department 15 million baht to have inmates dredge the sewer and the drain systems.

His inspection tour yesterday revealed many sections of the drainage system, particularly those close to the markets, were clogged with rubbish, grease and fat from cooking. The governor said grease traps will be installed.

Mr Chadchart added that although the dredging may cause traffic congestion, it is a small price to pay when looking at the damage further flooding would cause the economy.

Meanwhile, the rubbish that had found its way into the drainage systems will be traced to its origin so the issue can be tackled at its root, he said.

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