Governor gets 99-day review
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Governor gets 99-day review

Deputies hail efforts despite criticism

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt has received mixed responses from scholars after 99 days in the job.

Senator Sungsidh Piriyarangsan, chairman of the Senate committee on reducing poverty and social inequality, said yesterday that Mr Chadchart and his team had made little effort to solve the basic problems of the city.

"His efforts have failed to meet the expectations of Bangkokians because problems such as floods, rubbish and traffic congestion remain unsolved," he said.

"The governor of Bangkok must be ready to work as soon as he takes office. He should not waste time waiting for his academic teams to study the city's problems," he said.

But Saree Aongsomwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said the governor listened well to the voices of the people. She cited the prices of the Green Line BTS Skytrain as an example. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) wanted to set the maximum fare at 59 baht while the foundation proposed capping it at 44 baht.

Ms Saree said the government should subsidise fares for public transportation to encourage more people to use it. The BMA then reconsidered the proposed fares. Its council is expected to decide on the matter this month.

"Bangkok is a big city and it has many complicated issues. Mr Chadchart has been in the role for less than four months, and he can't solve every problem in such a short period. He needs more time," she said.

Meanwhile, four of the Bangkok governor's deputies -- Chakkaphan Phewngam, Wisanu Subsompon, Tavida Kamolvej and Sanon Wangsrangboon -- gave a joint statement about his work progress to date.

Mr Wisanu said the BMA tried to solve the flood problem by improving drainage pump stations, dredging 3,358 kilometres of drainage channels and 32 canals with a total distance of 1,665km. The BMA also has flood barriers along the Chao Phraya River.

Regarding the traffic issues, the BMA has improved about 46% of pedestrian crossings or 1,286 of 2,788 spots, he said.

The road surface has also been restored in two of 14 construction sites, and the BMA has found 100 blind spots on streets that could lead to accidents, Mr Wisanu added. So far, it has fixed two and is preparing to rectify 54 more this year, he noted.

Mr Chakkaphan said City Hall has arranged 125 places to serve as hawker centres for 8,300 street food vendors.

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