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Push for new Patong Road in protected Phuket forest gains ground

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Push for new Patong Road in protected Phuket forest gains ground | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Officials are hoping to have enough public support by October to start the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for a 100-million-baht road through protected Phuket forest connecting Patong and Chalong.

The EIA will be a critical hurdle for the project as the proposed route will cut through at least one kilometer of protected national forest in the Nakkerd Hills.

In order for the project to pass its EIA, it must garner majority support from the local residents surveyed during the assessment process.

At the meeting in the Merlin Hotel on Friday, representatives from the three companies hired to conduct the EIA – Transconsult, Phisut Technology and Panya Consultants – presented four potential designs for the road.

Banpote Jaroensathayatam, executive director of Transconsult, explained, “One of the four plans is our top choice because it will pass through only one kilometer of the protected forest.”

The proposed 3.1km two-lane road will connect Chao Fa West Road, near the entrance to Wat Srilasupharam (Wat Luang Pu Supha), in Chalong to 50 Pi Road in Patong.

Wongsakorn Noonchukhan, chief of the Public Works and Town and Country Planning Phuket office, explained that the new road was aimed at reducing the volume of traffic using existing roads between Chalong, where thousands of expats live, and Phuket’s busiest tourist town, Patong.

During the meeting, it was also explained that Cabinet approved the study for the new road on February 9, 2010. The approval was given on the basis that the project would help develop Phuket’s transportation infrastructure and hence help resolve the island’s ever-increasing traffic problems.

“The road joining Chalong and Patong has been there for at least 20 years, but it’s a rural road. It’s rough, uneven with large rocks used only by farmers transporting agricultural products,” Mr Wongsakorn said.

The meeting on Friday, attended by about 70 residents from Chalong and Patong, was the second public hearing held to gain feedback from local residents about building a new road along the proposed routes. The first was held on May 10 this year.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments

Maya Taylor

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97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

97 police officers, from 41 police stations, are currently being investigated for an alleged scam involving Covid-19 payments meant for officers who worked extra shifts during the crisis. The case was assigned by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk in November, when it came to light that some officers may have fraudulently claimed allowances meant for others.

In one incident, an officer responsible for transferring extra payments to police on the southern island of Phuket transferred the money to his own accountant instead. At the time, the transfer was dismissed as a mistake (in his favour), with the officer in question receiving a warning, and payments then made to the qualifying officers.

Wissanu Prasatthong-Osot from the National Internal Affairs Police says the investigation should reach a conclusion within the next 10 days.

“The result of the investigation should be ready in 10 days. Currently, 97 officers in 41 police stations ranging from non-commissioned to generals are under investigation for being involved in the swindle. The bureau aims to provide justice to all policemen involved. After the investigation concludes, the victims will receive their full allowance, while the offending officers will be punished under the law and disciplinary standards.”

Nation Thailand reports that a full list of alleged offenders has been sent to Suwat, with Wissanu promising that none will escape prosecution.

“The National Police chief had also ordered the transfer of offending officers at the commander and sub-commander levels out of their areas as per the investigation procedures.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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