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Phuket Opinion: Lack of infrastructure planning – caprice or coincidence?

This week brings a double-whammy of good news for residents in the south of Phuket, home to the heaviest concentration of resident expats on the island: Chalong Hospital is more than halfway complete and the Klong Kratha “Chalong” Dam is on track to be complete by the end of July.

opinion, economics, construction, tourism, transport, accidents, politics,


The Phuket News

Sunday 23 April 2017, 09:00AM


An official describes the plans outlined in the 20-year National Strategy. Photo: Bangkok Post / Chanat Katanyu
An official describes the plans outlined in the 20-year National Strategy. Photo: Bangkok Post / Chanat Katanyu

The hospital alone will become a major bounty for saving lives. The faster victims receive emergency medical treatment the greater their chance of survival, and this is not just for road accident victims but also for those hauled from the surf by lifeguards when the wild surf kicks up again during the southwest monsoon, which will blow into full swing in the coming weeks.

Officials at least deserve credit for recognising this and for opening the hospital’s Accident & Emergency Department long before construction of the hospital proper even began.

The completion of the facility will only add to the provision of those essential services and greatly reduce the time taken to get victims to emergency care well within the “golden hour” which is so critical to emergency-patient survival. Previously, patients had to make it all the way to the bypass road or even Phuket Town before proper medical treatment could be administered.

Meanwhile, the dam will bring relief to water-shortage sufferers not only in Chalong, Rawai and Nai Harn, but also to the key tourist areas of Kata and Karon on the southwest coast. Those areas in particular today rely on supply from Bang Wad Dam in Kathu, either via Patong or all the way south to Chalong and then over the hills. The only water-production facility currently directly serving Kata-Karon is the lone reverse-osmosis plant north of Karon, whose production is more at the project level than a genuine source water supply source.

Meanwhile, residents in Wichit will also benefit, especially those living along the south side of Sakdidet Rd who have suffered recurring lightening water shutoffs – some explained, others not – for years.

Yet both the dam the hospital, although being addressed now, together highlight another key shortage in Phuket: forward-thinking by town planners. Both projects come only after the demand was recognised – a sick thought when considering emergency medical care is one of the demands to be met.

Waiting for demand to create the need for such infrastructure development ensures only one thing: that Phuket lags behind the “world tourism destination” officials claim it to be and forces residents – and tourists – to suffer for the sake of nothing more than poor forethought.

Officials create 20-year “National Strategy” plans, 10-year plans down to five-year and even three-year plans - but for some reason no evidence of these so-called plans can be found in any major development on the island regardless of how much revenue Phuket has generated for the country over the years.

The roads became jammed because no secondary road network was ever developed until it was too late, “coincidentally” while the lucrative underpasses costing billions to build are coming to fruition. Now traffic on major roads is becoming lighter, and the underpasses are given the credit. Coincidence? We’ll let you decide.

 

 

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