The Nation



Govt operations largely undisrupted

Plans in place for temporary offices if compounds become inaccessible

GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS generally remain undisrupted, despite some offices continuing to be under siege by protesters.

Government House operated as usual yesterday, preparing for the Royal Reception Party in honour of His Majesty the King today.

At press time, the Government Complex and the Finance Ministry were under siege, while the entrances of some other ministries were blocked.

All government offices - whether or not they have been occupied by anti-government protesters - have prepared emergency offices to prevent disruption to their operations.

Since November 25, protesters have occupied the Finance Ministry in an attempt to paralyse the government's operations and oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's administration. A few days later, they seized the Government Complex.

Pol Maj-General Tawat Boonfueng, deputy secretary to the PM, yesterday said Government House had been able to conduct operations as usual since the protesters surrounded the building on Tuesday.

After checking for damage and any bomb threats, he confirmed the royal party in honour of His Majesty could go ahead today.

There are 20 ministries and six government offices in Thailand. Government House consists of the Secretariat of the Cabinet, the Secretariat of the PM, the Office of the Permanent Secretary and the Office of the National Security Council.

A Government House source said that as long as the building could be accessed, everyone should come to work as usual. However, if it were to prove inaccessible, all officials would receive a text message from the security detail to go to work at a temporary location.

The temporary locations include the first floor of the old building in the National Library of Thailand, the Civil Service Commission's Nonthaburi office, the Office of the National Security Council, and Mass Rapid Transit Authority office on Rama IX Road.

According to permanent secretary Chavalit Chookajorn, senior officials and staff at the Agriculture Ministry on Rajdamnoen Nok Avenue have temporarily moved to the Centre of Regional Irrigation Office 11 in Pak Kret. They are generally working smoothly at the new location, he said.

As the ministry on Rajdamnoen remains blocked by protesters, staff members are being encouraged to work via the internal mailing system. However, the operations of some policies that must be coordinated with other departments may be delayed, including those approved for the 2014 fiscal year, he added.

"The spending of the budget for the year 2014 is mainly going to begin next week. If this is delayed, then it will have to be rushed at the end of the fiscal year.

"This would not be in time for some agricultural projects, which depend on the harvesting period. If we can't make it for this year, then it would have to be postponed to the next year, which would spill over into the next year's budget." Chavalit warned.

Located in Nonthaburi, the Commerce Ministry remains accessible. Though the ministry was sealed last Sunday, officers are working as usual, particularly those in departments that facilitate business transactions.

The Foreign Trade Department, the Business Development Department and the International Trade Promotion Department also have mobile offices for external contact.

According to an official at the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, those officials that must hold meetings have been told to move to work at the TOT Academy on Ngarmwongwan Road as an interim office, while the rest can work from home. This policy took effect yesterday.

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