EARTH Thailand

Green light for 19 projects to appeal

Bangkok Post 22 December 2009 

The cabinet on Tuesday gave the green light to 19 of the 65 suspended industrial projects at the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court for permission to proceed to ease the impact on the operators, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

Mr Abhisit said of the 65 projects whose suspension was confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court earlier this month, it was initially thought that 42 would be able to seek a reprieve from the court's order.

However, the cabinet decided on Tuesday that only 19 of the 42 projects should be in the first group to lodge an appeal with the court. It was felt they had sufficient reasons to back their request, the prime minister said.

The total investment cost of the 42 projects was 185.032 billion baht, and involved the hiring of 25,489 workers.

Industry Minister Charnchai Chairungruang said that of the 19 projects to appeal, four had already been in operation, eight had completed construction, and seven were still under construction.

Sorayuth Phettrakul, the assistant to the industry minister, said the 19 projects were similar to the 11 formerly suspended projects that the court had already allowed to proceed in terms of health and environmental impact.

The cabinet resolved that the permanent secretaries for industry and energy should consult with the investors of the 19 projects pn the preparation of their appeal.  The Industry Ministry would coordinate with the investors, who would individually submit their appeals to the court because the details in all the projects were not the same.

Representatives of about 20 Japanese investors visited Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu at Government House on Tuesday to express concern over the problems at Map Ta Phut.

They wanted to know how the government would help if in one year the projects suspended by the court order could still not proceed.  They were concerned about projects which been built already and others which were are still under construction.

Mr Korbsak assured the investors that the four-party committee chaired by former prime minister Anand Panyarachun would come up with the required regulations on the health and environmental impact assessments and public hearings under Article 67 of the constitution by the end of this year.

The suspended projects would then be able to meet the requirements under Article 67 and apply to the Supreme Administrative Court to relax the suspension orders, he said.