Locals demand SRT halt rail project amid flood risk

Locals demand SRT halt rail project amid flood risk

Nakhon Ratchasima: Locals in Sung Noen district have urged the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to halt the construction of a high-speed railway passing through their area and modify what they claim is a flood-prone design of the section.

They argued the current design, which aims to build a dyke along the tracks, would cause flooding in their communities. They suggested instead that the section of the project be built on an elevated platform, passing over their neighbourhoods.

Representatives of the state-run local Damrongdhama Centre on Tuesday invited the railway project builder to have a discussion with 200 protesters.

The section of the project, linking tambon Kud Chik with tambon Kok Kraut, forms part of the 250.77-kilometre high-speed rail track project connecting Nakhon Ratchasima with Bangkok.

This project plans to open in 2027, with 10 of 13 building contracts, including the tambon Kud Chik-Kok Kraut section, now under construction, according to an earlier report.

Jantina Akkarapridi, the protesters' representative, said that since the SRT started construction in 2021, not much information about the project has been revealed to villagers who will bear the brunt of the building work, such as dust and pollution.

She added the residents were not included much in the discussion process, as the SRT appeared uninterested in obtaining input from local people. The protesters also alleged the public hearings were not carried out properly.

The design flaw and absence of public participation contributed to the project causing problems for local communities, Ms Jantina said.

She said the construction area allows for water to be drained to flow across their area and triggers floods. The five-metre-high dyke around the site also prevents water from being drained, she noted. The dyke also splits the area into two zones, which makes getting around harder, Ms Jantina said.

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