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Junta earmarks Bt800 million to tackle drought and flooding

More than 100 projects approved and NCPO says work well advanced on some

The junta has approved an Bt800-million budget to tackle drought and flooding across the country.

Approval was given at yesterday's meeting of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order's economic team.

General Chatchai Sarikalaya, deputy head of the economic team, said the measure was part of the water management master plan to be revealed later this year. He chaired the meeting at Army headquarters.

Engineering soldiers have been assigned to help carry out 105 projects so far and some 30 per cent of the work has been completed, Chatchai said.

He stressed that the engineers were ready to be mobilised to do more work together with six agencies, which were assigned the work on July 25.

He said the teams undertaking the jobs were fully equipped so the work could be done efficiently.

During the meeting, Chatchai said the issue of flooding in the Northeast and East was raised including how flood water could be channelled out of affected areas. Drought issues were also discussed.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment is spearheading a project in which underground water will be used to help alleviate drought problems. The ministry will work with local administrative bodies.

"The NCPO chief has stressed that we have to be careful in tackling flood and drought problems and to carry out the work effectively as well as transparently," Chatchai said, adding that surveys are being conducted so reservoirs could be built near dams for consumption and agricultural use.

He said the Bt800 million budget was being used while the water resources management master plan was being prepared by a team of experts in such a way that it would cover all water-related problems.

It would be the most complete water resources management master plan ever.

Another meeting of the economic team has been scheduled for next month.

Chatchai said provincial governors in all 77 provinces would be assigned to inspect the work and report to the economic team in order to ensure that projects proceeded in a systematic fashion.

Areas earmarked for special attention during the meeting include border provinces Ubon Ratchathani and Prachin Buri.


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