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Budget breakdown; Phuket to get speed cameras, “monkey cheeks’



PHUKET: The mobile Cabinet meeting on Tuesday approved 23 projects worth 628 million baht that can be developed immediately in five provinces along the Andaman coast, including a network of speed cameras in Phuket.

For the 23 projects slated for immediate start-up, the Cabinet ordered that plans be hurriedly drawn up and presented to the Budget Bureau within two weeks, said Prime Minister’s Office deputy spokesperson Chalitrat Chandarubeksa.

Significant regional projects related to tourism promotion total 101.31mn in instant funding, including a 30-million-baht pier for tourist businesses at Khao Yao in Phang Nga; tourist destination development on Trang’s Sukorn Island (25.94mn baht); tourist security promotion in Phuket (25.37mn baht), water management to serve tourists in Ranong (20mn baht).

Other projects were approved on a province-by-province basis, including six in Phuket:

• 25mn baht to develop “monkey cheek” reservoirs in Phuket to solve chronic water shortages in selected areas, understood to supply the Phuket City Municipality Waterworks system

• A water pipeline from Baan Bangjo to Phuket International Airport: 24.84mn baht

• Marine navigation lighting system improvements: 17.30mn baht

• Conservation and development of the Baan Phraya Wichit Songkram historical site in Srisoonthorn: 9.11mn baht

• Road spending, including 20mn baht on improvements to Chao Fa East Road

• A network of radar speed cameras to monitor traffic speeds and automatically fine violators: 17mn baht.

As previously reported, a committee led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday approved a three-year, 5.79bn baht plan to increase the annual capacity of Phuket International Airport to 12.5 million passengers and a 128-million baht elevated road project in Wichit.

The Cabinet also agreed on 117 proposals estimated at 84.06 billion baht for future development. Of these, 10 encompass all the Andaman coastal provinces and cost 24.87bn baht. The remainder are individual provincial projects costing a total of 59.26bn baht.

The committee also proposed spending about 20 billion baht on making the rail link between Bangkok and the Malaysian border town of Padang Besar in Songkhla a dual-track railway, according to Bloomberg.

Padang Besar, well-known to expatriates making “visa runs” to Penang from Bangkok, is currently serviced by a single-rail track that has not been upgraded by the State Railway of Thailand in decades.

A proposed rail route along the Andaman coast, valued at 58bn baht, is also under study by the Cabinet, said Payungsak Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries.

By province, Phuket has 67 projects approved worth 47.68 billion baht. Phang Nga has 13 projects worth 3.82bn, Krabi has 10 worth 3.49bn, Trang has six worth Bt334 million, and Ranong has 11 worth 3.99 billion baht.

Additional reporting by Stephen Michael Fein and Atchaa Khamlo.

Updated on March 23, 2012: Chao Fa East Road will be the site of 20mn baht improvements, not Chao Fa West as first reported.

— The Nation


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