Posts Tagged ‘Thailand will be in crisis if flood management fails’
BANGKOK, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) — Now that the Thai cabinet meeting on Tuesday just gave the nod for a government’s proposal to sell 350-billion-baht (11.14 billion U.S. dollars) in bonds domestically to fund long-term flood management plan which if fails, the country, not just the government, would face with credibility crisis.
As for short-term plan for the year 2012-2013, the Strategic Formation Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development ( SCRF), chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, on Monday approved a 16.5-billion-baht (525.15 million U.S. dollars) water management plan to prevent floods and droughts. Of this, 12 billion baht will be drawn from the 2012 fiscal budget while the remaining 4.5 billion baht from the 2013 budget.
These urgent measures entailing improvement in sluice gates, dykes, drainage system and water resources management as well as compensation for flood-hit victims will be implemented in the next five months in order to prevent massive floods of this scale from reoccurring next year.
Almost five months have passed since the flooding began in the northern part of Thailand and then spread slowly down to the plains downstream. And new rainy season is expected soon in five months ahead, or as early as May. Even though Commerce Minister Kittirat Na-Ranong, who is also chairman of the Strategic Formulation Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM), reassured on Monday that most of short-term projects would be completed before the new rainy season arrives, it is not quite promising.
Last month, Prime Minister Yingluck seemed to be certain that floodwaters would be completely dried out before New Year but early this month she said that she was concerned about the ongoing situation in the western side of the capital. Currently, floods still prevail in six provinces, affecting almost nine million households, or 2.27 million people.
BUSINESS OPERATORS DEMAND CONCRETE STRATEGY
Following its investigation of the damage at flood hit industrial parks, Bank of Thailand’s Office of Macroeconomics unveiled on Monday that majority of the investor hoped that the government would put effective flood prevention and water management measures into place as soon as possible.
About a week after scrapping the first lot of some 400 units, Honda Automobile Thailand Co., Ltd. again on Tuesday destroyed 1, 055 cars which were inundated by floods in mid-October to ensure its customers that the company will not reuse any parts of those affected cars. Car scraps were carried out at Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya province which has a capacity to assemble 240, 000 cars a year and is the second-largest car factory in Thailand.
Despite its bad fortune, the company’s executive pledged not to relocate it production plants to other countries. However, the company re-emphasized that the government should spare no effort to prevent great deluge from repeating.
“This measure will only correct the consequence. The government should look at the cause of the consequence, especially they should focus on water management in order to prevent the same disaster from happening again in the future,” Pitak Pruittisarikorn, executive vice president of Honda Thailand, made the remarks regarding the 4-meter flood wall building plan around the industrial estate which the government proposed before.
Floodway projects along both sides of Chao Praya River are part of the long-term strategy the government has made clear so far, but still it lacks of details on exact locations and designs. The government plans to get the strategy implemented in the next one to three years but the question is that will it be in time?
If the inundation returns next year, even with lesser scale, while everything is not just yet ready, the private sector will definitely lose faith in the country, not just Yingluck administration. Not every business operator that is patient enough or dares enough to put its millions or billions invested factories at risk waiting until the government’s strategies become effective. Sanyo Semiconductor Thailand, which has operated since 1990 producing semiconductors, transistors and large-scale integrated circuits, finally terminated operation of a flood-ravaged factory in Rojana Industrial Estate on Dec. 25.
“If the government cannot handle this and it comes again next year, we wouldn’t be able to afford to stay in business. The government must work hard to restore confidence because we don’t want to go through that again.. And we may consider moving out if the government fails to do so,”said a Japanese executive of a system engineering company in Bangkok.