EARTH Thailand

NCPO backs EEC land use guidelines

The Nation 25 October 2017 | Chatrudee Theparat

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday approved guidelines for land utilisation in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in a bid to facilitate investment.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the guidelines will create more confidence for potential investors. The guidelines on land use will later be included in the new Town Planning Act, he said.

"The Public Works and Town & Country Planning Department is in the process of issuing a new Town Planning Act to cover land use nationwide," he said. "The process is expected to take a year-and-a-half or two years. That is too long."

Kobsak Phutrakul, assistant minister to the Prime Minister's Office, said the NCPO meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered the department to complete details of the land use guidelines for EEC projects within six months.

The EEC is intended to be a flagship project to drive economic growth. The EEC spans 30,000 rai in the provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao to accommodate investment in 10 targeted industries: next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services.

Meanwhile, Mr Kobsak said the cabinet yesterday approved an investment proposal from Carnegie Mellon University, based in the US, to set up a campus in Thailand in partnership with King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.

Faculties will include electrical, computer and software engineering.

The cabinet recently approved the criteria and conditions for foreign educational institutes that plan to establish branches in the EEC. Such institutes should not be ranked below 100 in the ratings of Quacquarelli Symonds, Times Higher Education or other international agencies approved by Thailand's Education Ministry.

The faculties in the EEC should focus primarily on the government's targeted industries.

The ratings of the faculties should be higher than those of their counterparts in Thailand, while the ratio between Thai and foreign students should be balanced to increase opportunities for the former.