Plodprasop sets October deadline for Water Ministry
Draft for ministry being worked out; it will handle water-related policiesThe so-called "Water Ministry", which will be handling all flood and water-management policies as well as projects at the national level, should be established by October, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said yesterday.
He said his draft for the new ministry, which will be the 21st when established, had been completed and there were other versions being worked out by experts. All versions of the draft will be discussed and merged together before being submitted to the Cabinet for initial approval after the bidding for the Bt350-billion project is finalised.
Plodprasop, who chairs the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC), said existing agencies in charge of handling flood, water, irrigation, natural resources and early disaster-warning systems would come under the jurisdiction of the new ministry.
However, he said, the existing agencies would remain and their authority and responsibilities will stay unchanged.
'Fixing past failures'
When asked about the jurisdiction of the irrigation department, which has been supervised by agriculture ministers from different parties, Plodprasop said: "It's an issue of national importance, and past failures in handling the water and flood issue has been attributed to political power play."
Suphoj Towichukchaikul, chief of the Office of the National Water and Flood Management Policy (ONWFMP), said the structure of the new ministry had been designed and given initial approval.
Also, meetings among relevant agencies and prospective future departments under the new ministry were making good progress.
The agencies that will be run by the ministry, apart from the ones mentioned by Plodprasop, will also include the ones handling the meteorological and waterworks services at both provincial and national levels.
In addition, several laws will be needed to set up the Water Ministry, which are not yet ready for parliamentary scrutiny. Plodprasop said it was necessary to set up the ministry by October, because the ONWFMP will be disbanded after seven months.
As for funding, he said the Water Ministry's annual budget would have to be huge, as each department is granted a colossal amount annually and the latest Bt350 billion earmarked for the master water-management plan will also be handed over to the ministry for management.