House panel wants more groundwork
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House panel wants more groundwork

An ad hoc House committee studying the Land Bridge megaproject has suggested that the government establish an agency to manage it and conduct more public hearings before construction officially begins.

Radklao Inthawong Suwankiri, a deputy government spokeswoman, said yesterday that the committee presented its recommendations to the cabinet on Tuesday.

The study covered various dimensions of the Land Bridge project, including definitions, formats, investment models, development guidelines and anticipated benefits.

The committee suggested that a clear format and objectives must be set before proceeding.

Regarding the environment and land expropriation, the committee urged that the government ensure community participation and provide clear information to help build understanding and public support for the project.

New agencies must be established to supervise and ensure the bridge integrates with the surrounding infrastructure.

The committee also suggested that the government cooperate with the Council of State and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy Committee. Learning from the EEC's experiences can help identify obstacles and find solutions. The study also showed that gathering public opinion is necessary, and representatives of the relevant agencies should also be appointed to provide information to the public.

Economy-wise, the government should summarise directions in utilising modern technology to draw foreign investment.

Ms Radklao said the cabinet on Tuesday instructed the Transport Ministry to work with key agencies to find proper guidelines and conclude the overall studies. They would submit the studies to the Cabinet Secretariat before forwarding them to the cabinet for approval.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said after completing overseas roadshows that the foreign private sectors, particularly companies in Dubai and China, were interested in investing in the project.

"I am confident that this project will come to fruition," said Mr Suriya. "The roadshows proved a success as many showed interest in the project."

The next step is to put the plan before parliament for law drafting.

The drafted Southern Special Economic Zone bill is expected to be submitted in the next session, and contractors' bids are expected by the end of 2025.

Mr Suriya said he would push to kick off construction immediately after completion of the bidding process.

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