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Govt savings bank to lend Bt80 bn initially

GSB, Krung Thai win bid for first loan of Bt120 billion for Bt340-bn project

The Government Savings Bank (GSB) will be lending Bt80 billion to the government for the first phase of its water-management and flood-prevention modules.

The Public Debt Management Office has already chosen creditors for the first loan, which amounts to Bt120 billion, via a bidding process.

GSB and the KrungThai Bank have emerged as successful bidders.

"We will lend Bt80 billion for the first phase," GSB president Woravit Chailimpamontri said yesterday, adding that his bank expected to lend about Bt170 billion to the government for the water-management and prevention modules that are estimated to cost Bt340 billion in total.

Public Debt Management Office's director-general Chularat Suteethorn said her office had chosen creditors based on those who offered the lowest interest rate.

"We are legally required to complete the process of getting loans for the water modules by the end of June," she said.

The Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC) has received the final proposals and bids from qualified firms since early this month.

The projects are scheduled for implementation soon despite complaints from many sides.

Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, who also chairs the WFMC, has lately drawn ire from critics for comparing people protesting against the projects to rubbish.

On Saturday, Plodprasop suggested that Chiang Mai residents should not allow protesters "who were like rubbish" to be around the 2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit. Held in Chiang Mai, activities related to the summit begin today.

Plodprasop also threatened to get all the protesters arrested.

"There will be no negotiation," he was quoted as saying.

Harnnarong Yaowalert, who chairs Thailand's Foundation for Integrated Water Management, said yesterday that Plodprasop's behaviour only proved that he did not understand democracy or the public-participation concept if he got the protesters arrested.

"We only wish to express our opinions in line with the principles of democracy," he said, adding that it was beyond comprehension as to why Plodprasop had compared people to rubbish.

"MPs are elected by people," he pointed out.

Harnnarong, moreover, accused Plodprasop of having the government hire his own PR firm for preparing the water summit.

"He's exploitative," Harnnarong said, adding that Plodprasop should assess himself and see if he was being even more repulsive than garbage.

"You have controlled both the agency that prepares a proposal and the one that approves the proposal," Harnnarong said, referring to the fact that Plodprasop also chairs the National Environment Board.

Stop Global Warming Association's president Srisuwan Janya, meanwhile, said Plodprasop wanted to promote himself via the summit, which eventually be of no real substance.

"The WFMC has taken over the role of preparing this summit and its activities from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment because it wants to promote the WFMC chairman and the newly-established Pinkanakorn Development Agency," he said. This agency only focuses on developing Chiang Mai and nearby areas.

Srisuwan said an exhibition at the summit would focus on the water-management concepts of companies qualified to bid for the government's Bt340-billion water-management and flood-prevention modules.

"Participants will have to waste their funds on attending the summit, which will deliver nothing but the empty Chiang Mai Declaration. It may sound nice but it's not going to be practical," Srisuwan said.

He insisted that the government and the WFMC had been mismanaging water projects since 2011.




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