Water budget inflated: senators
Senators yesterday demanded that the government explain its massive Bt350-billion budget for flood management and prevention when Japanese advisers said only Bt100 billion was needed.Senator Somchai Swangkarn told the House meeting that he wondered what the government planned to do with the extra Bt250 billion. Committees should track how the government uses the Bt350 billion, as there was criticism over graft, he said.
Senator Prasarn Marukpitak said the Japan International Cooperation Agency, in its flood management study of the Chao Phraya River basin presented to the Water and Flood Management Commission last Friday, said it was unnecessary to proceed with all 10 construction projects. Other projects were recommended, such as supporting residents of the basin to make adjustments to be able to live with flooding, controlling water flow of the two dams, managing water effectively, dredging the river, constructing more floodways in Ayutthaya and expanding dykes.
A South Korean enterprise to be hired by the government to design part of the scheme might cause a problem as it did not have experts and a network of firms, he said.
The government could face time constraints as it would have to secure the Bt350-billion by June 30, while it has not yet sought public opinion or conducted an environmental impact assessment, he added.