PM unveils master plan on flood prevention

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BANGKOK, 20 January 2012 (NNT) - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has expressed her confidence that the government’s master plan on water management will help revive the economy and restore investors’ confidence.

On 20 January, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, together with leading agricultural and economic planners namely Pitiphong Puengbun Na Ayudhaya, Kitja Phonphasi and Archom Termpithayapaisit, hosted a press conference on “Master Plan on Water Management” at Santi Maitri Building, Government House. The plan consists of both short- and long-terms.

The short-term plan is under the supervision of Mr Pitiphong Puengbun Na Ayudhaya. A national information center will be set up with the installation of satellite and remote tracking systems. The plan introduces reforestation in watershed areas in line with His Majesty the King’s initiatives and zoning of farmland for economic and energy crops. In mid-stream areas, the plan focuses on the release of water from major reservoirs and the building of water retention “Monkey Cheek” areas. In downstream areas, all canals will be dredged and weeds blocking water courses will be removed in both the eastern and western sides of the Chao Phraya River. All dykes built under royal initiatives will be strengthened and raised with installation of water pumps.

As for flood prevention in industrial zones, barriers to prevent overflowing will be built and sluice gates and pumping stations will be set up. In addition, the plan will introduce an insurance fund worth 50 billion baht to assist the industrial sector and businesses affected by flooding. Soft loans will be provided for industrial estates for flood prevention systems.

An organization called “Single Command” will also be established to manage water in an integrated manner. Relevant laws will be revised for effective pre- and post-flood rehabilitation.

As for the long-term plan under the supervision of Mr Kitja Phonphasi, databases as well as forecast and warning systems will be improved. The plan stresses on reforestation, environmental conservation, and designation of ten flood areas in the upper and lower parts of the Chao Phraya River. Measures to rehabilitate people affected by the flood prevention plan will be formulated. Furthermore, two million Rai of farmland will be used as “Monkey Cheek” when there is a massive amount of water. Water courses to divert the water from Pa Sak River to the Chao Phraya River will be constructed.

The prime minister said the water management master plan focuses on improving and restoring flood prevention systems and connecting all river basins in the country in a bid to prevent flooding in a sustainable manner and restore investors’ confidence.

The prime minister confirmed all actions in the short-term plan will be completed by March this year. Ms Yingluck also pledged that the government will expedite rehabilitation and compensation for the flood-affected to restore their livelihood as soon as possible.

News ID: 255501200022

Reporter : Narumon Ngamsaithong
News Date : 20 January 2012