PHUKET CITY: The provincial government is to launch two ambitious schemes aimed at beautifying Phuket. The Phuket Provincial Highways Office (PPHO) has already received 2.4 million baht in provincial funds to beautify the five-kilometer stretch of road connecting Phuket International Airport to Thepkrasattri Rd, and is now developing an “adopt-a-highway” scheme intended to spruce up the entire 40-km length of Thepkrasattri Rd from the airport to Phuket City. PPHO Chief Wanchai Wattanasiri said the project is in line with the policy of Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura, who was ordered by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to plant bouganvillea and make other improvements to the route from the airport into town. The order came as the two CEOs drove together along the road during the PM’s most recent visit to the island, in February this year. The Governor quoted the Prime Minister as saying he wants visiting tourists to enjoy a nice view all the way from the airport to their hotels. In order to turn the PM’s vision into reality, the PPHO is now preparing a model of the proposed improvements for submission to Vice Governor Winai Buapradit, who is responsible for the project, dubbed krongkaan thanon suay (Beautiful Road Project). The private sector is being called on to foot the bill. “We will divide Thepkrasattri Rd into one-kilometer sections and allow the private sector – developers, companies or hotels – to sponsor the beautification work within each section,” said K. Wanchai. K. Wanchai said he expects sponsorship for each 1-kilometer stretch to range from 700,000 to 1.2 million baht, depending on the width of the road. Sponsors who carry out the upgrade and maintenance work themselves will be eligible for a lower rate, but the work must conform with the Government approved design specifications, he added. In exchange for their contribution, sponsors will be allowed to erect signs informing passers-by that their business is responsible for the roadside scenery. The signs, too, will have to conform with government rules on size and appearance. After the improvements are made, the companies will be able to continue their sponsorship in following years by paying an annual maintenance fee, the amount of which will be determined during the first year of the project. K. Wanchai said that 20 businesses had already applied to take part in the scheme, which he said is similar to schemes that have been successfully implemented for decades in many US states. In a related development, the PPHO will install 110 new light poles along the road to the airport next month. The work should be completed by the end of July, said K. Wanchai. Gov Udomsak told the Gazette that, in addition to the Beautiful Road Project, the province is also working on an island-wide waste management scheme that has been provisionally entitled Chao Baan Kwaad Muang (“The Villagers Sweep the Town”). The plan, still in the planning stages, is expected to begin next month. “We will encourage Phuket people to keep their island clean. Volunteers will check areas around people’s homes to see if they are being kept clean. The information they collect will be recorded in a registration log. “We will enforce provisions of the Public Health Act and other applicable laws. Responsibility will rest with local administration bodies such as tambon administration organizations,” said the Governor.
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