The mobile Cabinet is also aimed at establishing direct contacts between local people and the highest levels of national government.
Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit announced on February 16 that the mobile Cabinet would meet with local authorities, possibly from March 20 to 22, although the date may be shifted slightly.
The Cabinet session will probably be held at Rajabhat Phuket University, on the north side of Phuket Town.
On Friday (February 18), Phuket’s elected senator, Thanyarat Achariyachai, said she would discuss with the mobile Cabinet the possibility of declaring Phuket a special economic zone.
Phuket, she pointed out, contributes more than B100 billion a year to the Thai economy, yet has received only B6.5 million from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports during the past three years.
Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha said officials are now preparing information on project proposals that would be discussed with the mobile Cabinet. These include:
- The light rail project. As the cost of this will be very high, the Phuket authorities may need approval from the Cabinet to allow private sector involvement and funding in the project.
- Patong tunnel. Debate continues as to whether this is realistic.
- Klong Koh Phee Rd in Phuket City and Phuket International Conventional and Exhibition Centre (ICEC) in Mai Khao. Neither project has yet had its environmental impact assessment (EIA) approved. The ICEC’s EIA is up for re-examination on March 12, just before the mobile Cabinet meeting.
- The proposed underpass on the bypass road next to Tesco-Lotus. This project has yet to be approved by the government.
- The expansion of Phuket International Airport. The project budget, as much as B5.7 billion, has been approved by the government and design of the project is now progressing. However, Phuket authorities want to discuss the possibility of increasing the runway surface to allow more aircraft to take off and land.