EARTH Thailand

MAP TA PHUT: Possible for obstacles to be cleared by Feb: Anand

The Nation 25 November 2009

The obstacles to the 76 industrial projects in Rayong could be cleared by February so some of them could resume construction, a special panel looking into the situation said yesterday.

"It should take about four to five weeks, or by about February [at the latest], to finalise the guidelines. Then, we'll know which projects can proceed," said Anand Panyarachun, chairman of the joint committee.

The committee is now reviewing where the government failed to comply with Article|67 (2) of the Constitution pertaining to project approvals.

Then the 76 projects will be classified into categories, while the committee will look at their licensing paperwork as well as revise related documents and finish the health-impact assessment rules.

The government was instructed to put off amending the National Environment Act, for fear that more disputes would surface if the government-proposed changes could not win public approval.

Anand, however, showed concern that the recommendations reached by the committee, which represents the public sector, civil society and business, might not be implemented.

He said the government should implement the panel's resolutions to remove all hurdles, as the private sector has shown its readiness to conform to the resolutions.

"The past errors are a result of a lack of monitoring, to ensure that all factories follow the plans," he said

PTT president Prasert Bunsumpun said the group was waiting for directions from the committee, though they could be reached in February.

The private sector now yearns for clarity, he said.

Anand presided over PTT's 11th Green Globe Awards, honouring 54 individuals for their projects to save the environment.

Last Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu reported to the Anand panel that he would propose three projects for solving local problems in Map Ta Phut to the Cabinet at its meeting next Tuesday.

Out of the budget of Bt872 million, Bt270 million will be used to manage 300,000-400,000 tonnes of waste in Map Ta Phut municipality, Bt312 million to develop the tap water system and Bt290 million to upgrade healthcare services in the area.

Payungsak Chartsutipol, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the panel at its meeting on Monday had only exchanged information from each party.