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Phuket light-rail EIA to be submitted next week

Phuket light-rail EIA to be submitted next week

PHUKET: The Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy and Planning (ONEP) this week conducted a survey of light-rail construction sites in Phuket and Phang Nga ahead of the office planning to submit the B39-billion mega-project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) next Friday (Jan 26).

transportconstructioneconomicstourism
By Chutharat Plerin

Saturday 20 January 2018, 05:19PM


The team of officials, led by Sirigate Aphirat of the Ministry of Transport’s Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), carried out the inspection on Wednesday and Thursday (Jan 17-18).

The EIA, by law a critical “must pass” element of any major government project in Thailand, will be submitted for its first consideration on Jan 26, Mr Sirigate confirmed.

“On Jan 17 at 8:30am, the ONEP team checked the areas from Tha Noon in Phang Nga to Phuket International Airport, and from the airport to the Bang Khu Intersection in the afternoon.

“On Jan 18 at 8am, the ONEP team checked the areas from the Bang Khu Intersection to Chalong Circle, including making records of places where land has been expropriated,” he said.

In addition, the group surveyed roads that would be affected by construction, including Rassada Rd; Bangkok Rd; Chao Fa East Rd; Thepkrasattri Rd, from Thungka Rd to Dibuk Rd, as well the intersections with Komarapat Rd to Dibuk Rd and U-turns.

They also checked where construction areas will be, workers’ houses and material storage units, and measured noise levels already present at several locations so that the noise levels could be compared with levels recorded later while construction is underway.

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“The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) will study an investment model, which is estimated to take four months (Jan to April),” Mr Sirigate said.

“Then it will be sent to the Cabinet to consider the form of joint venture, which should take eight months. If the project is approved, we can start the construction,” he explained.

Thailand’s Transport Minister Lt Gen Arkhom Termpittayapaisith in March last year confirmed that Phuket’s light-rail project was gaining momentum and that his office would push for a B31bn bidget to be approved. (See story here.)

However, Mr Sirigate only three months later revealed that the budget had jumped by B9bn to accommodate six underpasses that were deemed necessary to bring the project to fruition. (See story here.)

The reality that construction of the light-rail is very unlikely to commence anytime before January 2019 follows years of high-ranking officials promising work would begin this year. (See story here.)

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Christy Sweet | 22 January 2018 - 09:49:27

After witnessing the Bang Tao wetlands filling in over the last decade, I wonder if any project permit has been denied for an unfavorable EIA? Surely there has never been an EIA that stated it was good for the environment to concrete everything over? What are these EIA good for? Handing out  public funds to private persons is what.

Kurt | 20 January 2018 - 19:07:20

When you read this article 3 times, you realise it is all 'loose sand talks'.
Study investment models, than OTP, EIA, ONEP, MRTA, and what more officials feel they are important and want a piece of the cake. 
Sit down, relax, and do not think any further about this Project.
This is Thailand, not Singapore.
Perhaps some time in future with a new democratic government, or not.

Discover Thainess | 20 January 2018 - 17:54:24

When will the "powers that be" admit that this whole project is total nonsense? A light rail that only goes to so few places is never going to be used. A proper integrated public transport network of buses linking all the main locations would actually work. Apart from "Willy Waggling", why on earth would anyone think this project is useful? Another Patong City sign or broken do...

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