PHOTO: PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Praying for a change in the weather?
PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is warning that he might be forced to introduce the odd-even number rule for traffic in Bangkok if all other measures to ease the health-threatening smog problem in Bangkok and its peripherals fail (they have so far).
With his Article 44 powers, the Prime Minister could introduce the measure immediately and without consultation. But he would also be aware, now in his new role as a candidate for the forthcoming election, that such a move may not be popular amongst city voters.
The PM says he didn’t want to apply the “bitter pill” to address the smog problem without first resorting to other less stringent measures in order not to hurt the people.
“If the people want me to get tough, I am ready to respond. Any cars caught belching black smoke will be stopped right on the spot and towed away. I will issue such order and let see if this will cause trouble or not. I do not want to cause trouble to the people but I want them to have awareness.”
He then went on to warn that he might have to introduce the odd-even rule for driving on alternating days if the people do not cooperate with the government in easing the smog problem.
The PM issued a junta’s order today empowering military personnel to check all factories to make sure that they do not discharge dust particles into the atmosphere beyond the limits, failing that they will be temporarily closed down until the problem is remedied.
Meanwhile, Professor Dr Chaicharn Pothirat, a specialist on lung diseases of the faculty of medicine of Chiang Mai University, is urging the government to adopt the World Health Organisation’s daily dust particle standard which is set at 25 microns instead of 50 microns as set by the Pollution Control Department and the annual dust particle should not exceed 10 microns compared to Thailand’s 25 microns.
Citing studies on the annual PM2.5 dust particles in Southeast Asia, Dr Chaicharn said that reduction in the amount of dust particles would help increase the longevity of the people.
SOURCE: Thai PBS
Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit
November 4 and 5 have been approved as official holidays for Bangkok and Nonthaburi as a result of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits being held at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok.
Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul confirmed yesterday that the measure was being taken in an effort to alleviate traffic problems in both areas during the summit, adding that other state enterprises and the Bank of Thailand could implement the holidays for their subsidiaries at their own discretion and on a case-by-case basis.
“Government agencies in Bangkok and Nonthaburi will stop working on these dates. Meanwhile, state enterprises and the Bank of Thailand will consider announcing November 4 and 5 as holidays for their subsidiaries on case-by-case basis.”
“However, government agencies which have a necessity to provide urgent or previously scheduled services to their clients that cannot be postponed may stay open on November 4 and 5, depending on the decision by the heads of these departments.”
Some other public or regional holidays coming up…
SOURCE: The Nation
Colourful European ecstasy tablets targeting Thai youth
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board deputy secretary-general Niyom Termsrisook told reporters about the ecstasy pills following the arrest of a woman in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok, last week. The woman was arrested with about 28,000 cartoon-character ecstasy pills on October 8. Niyom said they had been tracked back to a European supplier.
“The pills are stored in Cambodia before being smuggled through natural border passages to Thailand.
Niyom alleged the smugglers were victims of human traffickers hired by African traffickers.
He said that local sellers of the ecstasy pills are targeting young pub goers as the drugs have a sex-stimulant property.
A source at the ONCB said a quantity of cartoon-character ecstasy pills was earlier seized at Suvarnabhumi airport in the capital. The pills were smuggled from the Netherlands where they were priced at 60 baht per pill.
SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times
Thai High Speed Railway linking airports now to be signed off on October 25
The State Railway of Thailand and the Charoen Pokphand Group-led consortium are putting pen to paper and signing the contract for the high-speed train project on October 25.
The much-discussed high speed railway will link Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao international airports. The new SRT board was approved by the Thai cabinet today.
Deputy PM Anutin Charnvirakul says he is confident the contract will now be signed, adding that he has already met with Supachai Chearavanont, CEO of the CP group, and assured him of the government’s full cooperation and support.
The Charoen Pokphand-led consortium won the bid to develop the 224-billion baht high-speed train infrastructure as a signature project for the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) high-tech investment hub. The train service is scheduled to be operational in 2024 (The Thaiger is taking bets now).
Recently, however, the CP-led consortium raised concerns over land expropriation and eviction problems and asked for the government to share the risk on this issue. The Transport Ministry has already rejected the request putting the onus on CP as part of the proposal.
Mr. Anutin explained that, in any large infrastructure project involving expropriation of land, it is usual for the government or state agency not to be able to hand over the land to the contractor all at once. In such cases, the contracted completion date can be moved back.
He said the CP-led consortium should proceed with the high-speed train project without further delay because 70% of the land is ready to be handed over.
Meanwhile, the deputy PM admits that he didn’t know why the entire SRT board resigned en masse, delaying the signing of the contract, and denied that he had put pressure on the board to quit. He also denied that Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, also of the Bhumjaithai party, objected to the SRT board’s mass resignation because the latter wanted the contract to be signed quickly.
SOURCE: Thai PBS
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