Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dispute over water pumps for Thon Buri

Bangkok Post

Flood relief officials quarrelled after Bangkok city's request for pumps to help drain the water in Thon Buri apparently received no response from the Royal Irrigation Department.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra was clearly fuming after Friday's meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, when RID chief Chalit Damrongsak said he had not received the city’s letter requesting pumps to drain water from flooded Phasicharoen district.

MR Sukhumbhand later denied he said there was "no response" to the request, but did say he was still waiting for the requested support.

City clerk Charoenrat Chutikan insisted the city did send the letter to the department, via the government's Flood Relief Operations Centre headed by Justice Minister Pracha Promnok.
Reporters were present at the meeting.

Thon Buri, on the western side of the Chao Phraya River, has less pumping facilities than areas on the eastern side, which also face inundation.

MR Sukhumbhand als told the meeting some of city's water pumps may need to be temporarily shut down for maintenance because they have been working  around the clock for many days.

The governor told Prime Minister Yingluck that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will support work of the flood centre and was ready to cooperate with the government's flood war room in protecting the remaining flood-free areas in the capital from flooding.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (left) and Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra (Photo EPA)
Ms Yingluck said she wanted information on the draining of the water by the BMA because at this time both the Froc and the BMA must work as a team in combating the northern runoff.

Reporters were allowed to observe the meeting.

Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit said the government has no intention move the flood centre's headquarters from Bangkok to a flood-free province.

"Whether to relocate the Froc headquarters or not is not an important matter. Helping flood affected people in Bangkok and the vicinity is more important," he said.

Moving the flood centre had not been raised for discussion during the meeting of the prime minister and the Bangkok governor this morning, he added.

Mr Yongyuth said the government has implemented measures to divert the flow of northern runoff and to drain the water out of Bangkok as soon as possible.

He said he felt more comfortable since the governor had expressed confidence that inner areas of Bangkok would be safe.

The floodwater this morning reached Lat Phrao intersection, inundating Vibhavadi-Rangsit road in front of the flood control centre office, which was earlier moved from Don Mueang airport.

This had sparked speculation the flood centre might be moved to a flood-free province.
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