Flood, drought plans to be tabled
Multi-billion-baht projects on water management and transport will be tabled to the mobile cabinet meeting which will kick off Monday in Nakhon Ratchasima.
Somkiat Prajamwong, deputy director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department (RID), said Sunday his agency has prepared a plan to tackle flooding and drought in the Northeast, including the Chi-Mun River basin areas as well as provinces next to the Mekong River. It will be proposed to the cabinet Tuesday, he said.
The cabinet meeting will be held at Suranaree University of Technology.
The cabinet will be asked to approve a 6.8-billion-baht budget for the plan, which would be treated as the national agenda, he said.
A total of 165 projects will proceed from next year, including the construction of Phra Ajarn Jeu and Yangnadee dams, both of which are medium-sized dams capable of holding up to 100 million cubic metres of water, as well as the enhancement of the water-holding capacity of Lamkanchu dam in the same province.
Others concern the construction of Thap Rang dam in Nakhon Ratchasima as well as water retention (monkey cheek) projects along waterways, Mr Somkiat said.
He said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs the National Water Resources Committee, earlier instructed the RID to adjust the nationwide water management plan to ensure the sustainable solution to flood and drought problems, particularly in the Northeast.
A source familiar with the plan said about two billion baht will be set aside for anti-flood projects in Nakhon Ratchasima. Additionally, 950 million baht will be earmarked for water management projects on upper Mun River, 850 million baht for the projects in the Lam Chiang Krai river basin, 220 million baht for projects along the Lam Satad waterway, 40 million baht for projects aimed at boosting the Chi River's water flow, and 990 million baht for the construction of flood walls along the Chi River.
Referring to the nationwide water management plan, Mr Somkiat said there are 309 projects at a cost of 18 billion baht.
Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry is set to seek a 2.7-billion-baht budget from the cabinet for the repairs of roads and bridges damaged by floods in the North and Northeast.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the budget will be distributed to the Highways Department and the Department of Rural Roads for the repair work.
The cabinet will also be updated about the 196km highway construction from Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya to Nakhon Ratchasima via Saraburi, as well as design work for the Sino-Thai high-speed train project from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, Mr Arkhom said.
Referring to the 3.5-billion-baht high-speed train project, Mr Arkhom said the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has been assigned to draw up a plan on the employment of the consultancy firms dealing with the project and how the scheme would be supervised.
Mr Arkham said the Highways Department will hold talks with Chinese engineers next week to discuss details of the construction of the 3.5km rail section from Klang Dong to Pang Asok stations in Nakhon Ratchasima to ensure the project would start in October.
Meanwhile, Gen Prayut will travel to a hall in the public park in tambon Hua Talay of Nakhon Ratchasima's Muang district Monday to hand local residents permit documents to use land set aside by the government, government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said.
The premier will meet 20 provincial governors, local administrators and people from the private sector in the Northeast at the provincial city hall before inspecting the water management system at Kraton Reservoir in Prathai district, he said.
Chart Pattana Party leader Wannarat Channukul, who is the former MP for Nakhon Ratchasima, said the mobile cabinet meeting in the province would give the government an opportunity to see how several government projects had progressed.
Workers prepare plant decorations at Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima, the venue for the mobile cabinet meeting which begins Monday.