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PM begins trip to check flood prevention work

Nothing done at one estate; many complaints over govt pay-outs

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra began a four-day trip to inspect flood-prevention measures in the provinces yesterday, beginning with visits to Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya.

She will also visit Sing Buri, Chai Nat, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Tak and Chiang Mai.

During her meeting at Rojana Industrial Park, Yingluck was told by Ayutthaya Governor Wittaya Phiewpong that 1,500 families had not yet received Bt5,000 flood-assistance payments.

In regard to compensation for house repairs, the governor said 140,000 flood-damaged homes were covered but 15,000 owners had sought re-evaluation for additional payment, so a committee was set up to handle that.

Yingluck urged officials to have clear criteria so all homeowners wouldn't demand more money. She suggested that a neutral party be appointed to help assess damages and that assessments be completed by July.

The PM was told rehabilitation of industrial estates was 78 per cent complete. But no work had been done at Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate because estate executives have yet to be appointed. Yingluck told the 13th Military Circle Headquarters to help get efforts underway there.

Earlier, Yingluck presided over a meeting of the National Water Resources and Flood Policy Committee, which will present its flood-prevention plan to the Cabinet today.

The PM said she feared that several construction projects had not progressed as fast as expected so the Cabinet would adjust the plan. She said the water-drainage committee would soon survey water statistics, satellite images and flood models. And that the government would use all methods to ensure transparent spending.

Responding to Nonthaburi residents who blocked roads because they were unhappy with flood compensation, Yingluck said she needed time to investigate the case and the government would act according to the law if injustice, lack of transparency or corruption were found.

Deputy PM and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit warned against further road-blocking protests. He cited a case in which the Pathum Thani court recently sentenced three protest leaders to a one month in jail and Bt1,000 fines. But their terms were suspended because they had confessed. Protesters should file complaints instead of breaking the law, Yongyuth said, adding that the government would not accept demands from mobs.


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