Governor under fire as rains bring city to a standstill

national June 09, 2015 01:00

By Tanatpong Kongsai,
Supachai P

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PRESSURE IS building on Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra after millions of commuters in the capital suffered a traffic nightmare due to flooded roads yesterday morning.

In addition to loud complaints on social media, the Stop Global Warming Association also called for Sukhumbhand to be sacked.

The association issued a statement demanding the removal of Sukhumbhand, other executives at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and district office directors responsible for the city administration’s inefficiency in tackling flood threats.

The statement suggested that they could be removed by either the National Council for Peace and Order chief, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha, or Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda.

“Please replace them with efficient, experienced and knowledgeable persons,” the association said in the statement.

It warned that the failure to remove them could result in Bangkok continually suffering flooding.

Many Bangkok people lamented yesterday that they were forced to spend hours on the roads trying to get to work or send their children to school. Some schools decided to close for the day.

Ironically, as flooding wreaked havoc in the capital, Sukhumbhand and his deputies were in the Netherlands inspecting a water-drainage system.

Later in the day yesterday, Sukhumbhand gave an interview to Nation Channel explaining that the trip was made in response to an invitation and he would head home today. He apologised to those who had been affected by the flooding-caused traffic woes.

However, he explained that it took time for water to drain from road surfaces following heavy rain, with yesterday’s downpour beginning at around 1am and lasting for hours.

BMA spokesperson Threedow Aphaiwongs Sukhum announced on Facebook that the heavy rain spread across the capital and at the Lat Krabang District Office the rainfall reached 103 millimetres.

Several key roads in Bangkok were swamped with floodwater. Among them were Bang Na-Trad, Sukhumvit, Asoke-Montri, Rama IV, Rama III and Lat Krabang.

At worst-hit spots, the floodwater was as high as 50 centimetres.

Flooding is a serious issue in Bangkok, and when Sukhumbhand campaigned for his second term as Bangkok governor he highlighted a policy to prevent floods.

So far, after two more years in office, many Bangkok residents feel he cannot deliver on his policy.

Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner Maj-General Nipon Charoenphon said that the failure to effectively drain water off road surfaces was a key problem affecting traffic flow.

“We have been in contact with the BMA Drainage and Sewerage Department. But the situation doesn’t seem to improve on Asoke-Montri Road,” he said.