DEMOCRATS SAY PM MISLEADING PUBLIC
Five out of seven flooded industrial estates are now dry, while flooded areas in Bangkok and nearby provinces will be dry by the New Year, says Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The flood situation was improving, she told her weekly radio programme yesterday, although the opposition was quick to criticise her for underestimating the crisis.
Opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) _ which will meet this week to decide whether to disband, now that the “emergency phase” of the floods is over _ appeared to be paying too little attention to flood victims.
He said the government was telling the public the flooding was about to end. “But in reality, it’s not true.”
The government should give flood-hit residents more detailed information, and pay more attention to conflicts between people over big bag barriers and dykes.
Several housing estates in Bangkok’s nearby provinces were still flooded, and some parts of northern Bangkok under chest-high water, he said.
He will ask the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to move unused sand bags in dry areas to those flooded estates.
Ms Yingluck, however, focused on what the government had achieved.
She said floodwater has been pumped out of five industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani provinces. The five are Rojana Industrial Park, Hi Tech Industrial Estate, Bang Pa-in industrial Estate, Factory Land Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya and Bangkadi Industrial Park in Pathum Thani.
That leaves two flood-hit estates, Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya and Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate in Pathum Thani, which are still submerged.
Ms Yingluck said Industry Minister Wannarat Channukul has informed her that floodwater would be drained out of the two estates by Dec 20.
After that, manufacturers in those estates will import machinery and resume production.
Most factories in the Hi Tech estate and 40 factories in the Factory Land estate resumed production on Thursday.
The Froc was working with local agencies to speed up water drainage in Bangkok, so the eastern districts could be dry by month’s end. People living along major roads and business areas in several flooded districts in eastern Bangkok had been able to resume their normal routines.
In areas that remain flooded such as Lak Hok, Don Muang, Chaeng Watthana, Lam Luk Ka, authorities were trying to drain floodwater as quickly as possible.
Neighbourhoods above the big bag barrier are now dry, while water levels in the Rangsit Prayoonsak canal have fallen. The barrier is no longer necessary.
Froc will gradually remove the big bag barrier, but it will consult people living along the barrier in advance.
Thon Buri, on the western side of Bangkok, would be dry by the end of December as well. However, it will take up to three weeks to drain floodwater from Phutthamonthon 4, Phutthamonthon 5 and Om Noi areas.
All areas in Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi provinces will be dry by New Year.
Some major canals, such as Phra Phimon canal, are still overflowing, though water levels in the Chao Phraya are likely to fall next week.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday said he expected all flooded major roads in Bangkok would return to normal by month’s end.
MR Sukhumbhand said he also ordered that two sluice gates in Min Buri and Klong Sam Wa districts be widened by 10cm to help speed up water drainage from Pathum Thani.
Meanwhile, flood-hit residents in soi Pracha Uthit in tambon Kukot of Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district gathered yesterday to call on Froc to drain waist-deep floodwater out of their area.