The Nation



Call off flood projects for now: activist

Let new govt decide on whether to push scheme, head of Eco group urges

AN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST has urged the government to cancel any projects it is conducting under the Bt350-billion water and flood management programme.

Stop Global Warming Association president Srisuwan Janya said the caretaker government should cancel all such projects and allow the new government to revise them once it takes office.

"These projects will be able to continue after the new government declares its policies to Parliament," he said.

His recommendation came after Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC) secretary-general Suphot Tovichakchaikul on Monday told the press that even though Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had dissolved Parliament, the water-management scheme would be able to continue as it had been endorsed by an executive decree to borrow Bt350 billion for the project.

But Srisuwan said that instead of pushing ahead with the plan to construct infrastructure under this scheme, the interim government should wait for the new administration to decide whether to continue with it.

Moreover, the executive decree for the loan was not yet valid, he claimed, as the government had not yet allocated any money to contractors.

According to a ruling by the Central Administrative Court, the government is obligated to complete public hearings on this programme before it signs the contracts for the work.

"We have seen several incidences of strong opposition from local people at the public hearings," he said.

Under the programme, there are nine modules for construction of infrastructure including dams, reservoirs, and water-retention and early-warning systems.

The WFMC is now holding public hearings on the project as ordered by the Central Administrative Court. The last one will be in Bangkok probably next week, after the original date of December 6 was cancelled.

The rush to complete the rounds of public hearings has also raised eyebrows.

Suphot said the dissolution of the House of Representatives would delay the contract signing from January to February.

"The new government will have to sign the contracts, as no official or interim government can do this, as each contract is worth nearly Bt100 billion," he said.

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