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Phuket allocated B3.5bn for infrastructure upgrades

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Road projects will make up half of the 3.5 billion baht worth of projects approved to make much-needed changes on the island, said Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong last week.

The Highways Department has been awarded 1.75bn baht to improve the island’s infrastructure through four projects, confirmed Samak Luedwonghad, director of the Phuket Highways Office.

First is a 550-million-baht underpass to be built at the Chalong Circle. Construction of the underpass is expected to begin this month and should be completed within 780 days.

Second is a 600mn-baht underpass slated for Bang Ku at the intersection of the bypass road and Thepkrasattri Road. A construction team from Italthai has already begun working and the project should be completed in 720 days.

The final two projects include a 100mn-baht flyover planned for the u-turn at the first set of traffic lights just north of Thalang Town and a 100mn-baht flyover at the Baan Koh Kaew Tha Ruea u-turn in front of Baan Jee Teng.

The Highways Department is searching for construction companies to undertake the flyover projects, Mr Samak said.

Mr Samak also mentioned that he would like to build an underpass at Mueang Mai Junction near Phuket International Airport. The project will cost about 400mn baht, which was announced as part of the approved budget by the governor. However, Mr Samak explained that they were in the process of clearing addition hurdles before it was given final approval.

“We also plan to expand Chao Fa West Road from Naka Junction until the t-junction before Phuket Bird Park. Officers are in the process of requesting 15 meters of land back on each side of the road,” Mr Samak said.

The funds will be coming partly from 2015 and 2016 fiscal budgets.

“All proposed road projects should be finished by 2019,” Mr Samak added.

Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana confirmed that 530mn baht had been approved to repair the island’s broken incinerator, which has been out of service since 2012.

“Waste levels in Phuket are predicted to increase to 1,000 tonnes per day in 2019. The incinerator, once repaired, will help handle this load,” Ms Somjai said.

“The two working incinerators we have can burn about 700-800 tonnes per day combined. Once the broken incinerator is fixed, the three incinerators will be able to handle 1,000 tonnes per day.”

Ms Somjai said that Phuket City Municipality is looking for a company to carry out the repairs. Once they find one, the repairs should take 18 months.

Governor Nisit told Phuket Gazette in May that the municipality would receive the money for the repairs in October, and that the project should be completed by April 2017.

Phuket City Municipality will also spend 60mn baht to construct more wastewater lines in Samkong, said Ms Somjai.

Wongsakorn Noonchukhan, chief of the Public Works and Town and Country Planning Phuket office, noted that flood prevention would also be covered in the multi-billion-baht budget.

“There are two flood prevention projects: one for Patong, which will cost 420mn baht; and one for Phuket City, which will cost 550mn baht,” he said.

“We will dig more waterways and build walls to prevent construction projects’ mud and dirt from falling into the canals and blocking the water from flowing. These construction sites and their runoff are a main cause of flooding in these areas.”

Mr Wongsakorn’s office has also hired Progress Technology Consultant Company to draw up a town infrastructure plan and detail ways of fighting floods in four communities: Phuket City, Patong, Kathu and Chalong.

“They have been given a 28mn-baht budget and have been working on this project since January. We expect it to be finished by July next year,” he said.

The funds for both Phuket City Municipality and flood prevention projects will come from 2016 and 2017 fiscal budgets, Ms Somjai confirmed.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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