Thai government insists on land bridge project amidst criticism, seeks international investors

Despite facing criticism, the Thai government remains determined to proceed with its Land Bridge project, inviting foreign investors and prioritising environmental implications, especially in headwater regions.

Government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke, addressing a mobile Cabinet meeting in Ranong, confirmed the government’s intent to engage foreign investors post the project’s promotion by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin at three international events. These included the APEC Summit in San Francisco, the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in Japan, and the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Presently, the project is in the presentation stage, which includes sharing studies with potential investors and establishing mutual comprehension. The government aims to involve global experts in port management and logistics systems in the investment, according to Chai.

Chai emphasised the project’s potential to evolve into a strategic transport hub for the region. Further studies on the environmental impact, particularly in the Level 1A head watershed area in the Phato basin of Chumphon province, are slated.

The Transport Ministry has already conducted preliminary research, validating the project’s viability. Detailed environmental studies will follow as the government advances with project implementation.

The 61 year old Thai prime minister has underscored the importance of mitigating the Land Bridge project’s potential impact on the public despite its substantial economic benefits. Chai reassured that any potential damage to citizens would be thoroughly addressed and satisfactorily compensated.

In response to queries about the adequacy of data provided to investors, Chai clarified that no concerns about information depth have been raised by the numerous companies that attended the project roadshows. No criticism regarding insufficient information has been levied by the media, both in the US and Europe.

Dubai World, a multinational conglomerate, has shown interest in investing in the Land Bridge project and observing the potential construction site. Simultaneously, the prime minister has instructed several state agencies to undertake comprehensive infrastructure improvements, including ports and roads in Ranong.

He noticed that the province’s ports and various infrastructure appear to be dilapidated and outdated. These agencies have been directed to devise urgent proposals to develop these projects to enhance readiness and modernise provinces in line with the government’s tourism policy, reported Bangkok Post.

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