We need B700m immediately – Pian

PHUKET CITY: Patong Mayor Pian Keesin has urged the government to approve immediately funding of 700 million baht to improve Patong Beach, in line with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s draft plan for reconstructing the resort.

Mayor Pian told Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, during his recent visit to Phuket, that Patong was the worst-affected of all the tsunami-hit places on Phuket, and yet it was the one that the government believed should recover soonest.

“I have done almost 100% of the things I wanted to do first to restore the natural resources,” said K. Pian.

“The next thing is to improve the scenery and make things more orderly, such as along the beach road.”

He also asked the PM to make an immediate decision on the budget, telling him, “Patong now is like a house without paint or a woman without make-up. The TAT Governor can’t promote tourism if Patong is still like this.

“The 700-million-baht budget has to be approved, and the decision should be made as quickly as possible, so we can recover in six months or a year, as the government wants.”

Mayor Pian also asked that the government to speed up the process of issuing soft loans to tsunami-hit businesses.

He said, “The Finance Minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, has said that 30 billion baht has been spent on helping businesses, but there are 900 businesspeople in Patong who have received nothing.

“Why it is difficult for Thai commercial banks to give soft loans to business operators when they have already got the money from the Bank of Thailand?”

He also asked whether it would be possible to speed up the loans process by allowing businesspeople to form cooperatives to guarantee each other’s loans, rather than have to get the support of high-ranking government officers, as is currently the case.

PM Thaksin ordered the Bank of Thailand to look at ways of solving the problems raised by K. Pian.

Phuket News
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