EARTH Thailand

Judges visit suspended projects

Bangkok Post 23 February 2010  

Central Administrative Court judges have visited industrial projects in Rayong's Map Ta Phut area whose construction has been suspended after the public prosecution sought permission for them to go ahead.

Four judges, including chief justice Pharnuphan Chairat, and complainants, respondents and operators, visited tambon Map Ta Phut yesterday to see the projects.

The trip came after the Office of the Attorney-General lodged a petition asking the court to allow 12 projects at the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate whose operations had been suspended to resume construction. Members of the media were barred from the inspection tour.

The opposition Puea Thai Party is urging the government to bring an end to the confusion over the suspended projects at the industrial estate to protect investors and the national economy.

Party deputy leader Parnpree Pahitthanukorn said yesterday the government was too slow to solve the problems and this would cost the Kingdom an opportunity for economic growth and its status as an economic leader in Southeast Asia.

Mr Parnpree called on the government to quickly propose a bill to set up an independent organisation to approve environmental and health impact assessments for industrial projects.

He said his party was ready to cooperate fully in parliament to endorse the legislation.

He also urged the government to reveal its timetable to solve the problems at the estate and define the projects considered as having a serious impact on communities so investors would have a clear understanding which categories their projects came under.

The Central Administrative Court suspended work on 76 projects last September because they had not passed health impact assessments or won consent from a yet-to-be-set-up independent body to proceed in line with the constitution. The suspension was lifted on 12 of the projects in December.