Yesterday the government announced details of plans for a legislative assembly. One of its early tasks will be the approval of the annual budget for government.
In the lead up state bodies will be preparing their Shopping Lists for projects they wish to embark upon. However they are still spending money from the previous budget and much is going on projects, where going on past performance corruption has been going on behind the scenes. Hence the need for a Stopping List.
The government has repeatedly said it will move to stamp out corruption and has acted already to quash the uneconomic fast train project, a case of policy corruption.
Here we make some suggestions for the Chiang Mai area and readers are invited to suggest their own.
Stop Concreting our Mae Ping
Recent years have seen large expenditures along the Ping River supposedly to flood proof Chiang Mai. Historically floods have not been a problem for Chiang Mai and during the 2011 rains which brought death disaster to the central plain of Siam, Chiang Mai city had two days of minor flooding. This was despite the fact that the Ping River had been deepened by dredging but it was made worse by levy construction and dredging upstream which prevented the usual spreading of water to low lying agricultural land.
In 2012-13 large water gates were constructed down stream of the city which if opened should allow the river to act as a fast flowing drain. However a series of weirs between downtown and the gates have not been removed so they can not perform their purported role.
Now more of our taxes are being wasted on the destructive concreting of the river which has not seriously misbehaved since it destroyed Wiang Kum Kam over 700 years ago resulting in the the new Chiang Mai.
Please Khun Prayuth order this be stopped now.
Stop wasteful road works
Muang Chiang Mai
The lively Nimmanhaemin area of Chiang Mai is under threat from road department plans to turn the road into a high speed route around the city.
Despite the lack of agreement from the Royal Thai Air Force to permit a section of the road to pass through Air Force land which would clearly endanger the security of the air base the Main Roads Department has acquired land and demolished valuable housing, including a large mansion and modern block of apartments to build a divided highway stopping at the entrance to Wing 41.
For three years residents in the Nimmanhaemin area have expressed opposition to the plans which has failed to prevent the destruction which was only completed this January.
We thank the RTAF for its stance and request it continue to protect our city from this project.
We would ask Khun Prayuth to order revocation of the main road reserve between Wing 41 and the Super Highway at Huai Keow Rincome interesction.
Further we would welcome money being transferred from the roads budget to construct much needed public housing for low income workers, many of whom live in slum conditions. Many slum dwellers who often are in occupations shunned by others, prefer to remain in unsanitary conditions within easy travel to work but where they have some security of tenure which they should also be given if relocated.
Another over engineered and therefore over priced road project is underway on route 107 at Mae Rim. The project which is over a year from completion involves a road tunnel to speed traffic on the Chiang Mai – Mae Rim road. The traffic must pass through high activity urban areas with services such including markets and a major hospital and the effect of the tunnel by speeding the traffic will be to the detriment of local people. Meanwhile delays caused by the restrictive traffic light regime which is in place at all such tunneled intersections in Chiang Mai will lead to continued delays, pollution build up and waste of fuel.
Alternative intersection treatments such as in the example from Cairns in Queensland reduce accidents and congestion. Here again is a project we would ask Khun Prayuth to consider before further work proceeds.
Consoling the contractors
While our suggestions above would if acted upon disrupt the work of contractors on the projects cause them serious loss which would not need to be compensated for under the provisions of martial law we would urge the government to deal fairly and find other suitable work e.g. bridge work for railway duplication.
The recent meeting with Korean companies over likely changes to the giant water scheme is sets a welcome precedent but only in so far that the project which was conceived in a corrupt and illegal manner is properly evaluated. Here again the possibility remains to scrap the dams opposed by country folk and offer the Korean companies a role in railway upgrading.