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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     7 November  2011

City government wins pump battle

Bangkok’ s city hall expects to drain floodwater out of all swamped main roads in a fortnight after its demand for additional water pumps from the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) was met.

"We should be able to drain water out of all main roads within two weeks and in about one month from inundated sois," said Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra.
His comment came after Froc had promptly sent 24 pumps to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) following the governor's demand on Saturday for better cooperation.

The pumps will double the BMA's capacity to empty floodwater from eastern Bangkok, said MR Sukhumbhand.

He also thanked the Froc for responding to his call for pumps. They will help drain water out of the capital through the east.

The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) also responded to MR Sukhumbhand's call for it to turn on more pumps. The department yesterday began switching on 16 out of 20 pumps at its Khlong Saen Saep water pump station in Nong Chok district.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the department said it had begun starting up 16 pumps at the Nong Chok station after closing the Nong Chok sluice gate, which is in neighbouring Chachoengsao province, to prevent water from flowing from the province into Nong Chok district.

Four other pumps were spared for use in rotation in case the pumps needed to operate around the clock, said the department.

It did not operate all 16 pumps from the beginning because it had promised residents protesting against its drainage of water into Chachoengsao that only nine pumps would be operated pending further negotiations with them.

Earlier in the day, MR Sukhumbhand said the BMA had resubmitted a formal request to Froc asking it to order the RID to maximise its water pumping capacity at the Nong Chok station.

He said the RID operated only nine pumps out of 17 functioning ones. The other three were out of order.

What was still worrying was rising water levels in flood-prone areas of eastern Bangkok, the governor said.

The Froc planned to close three water gates at Khlong 8, 9 and 10 to reduce the volume of floodwater flowing from Pathum Thani province to Bangkok's eastern section. The Froc managed to shut down only Khlong 8 and 10 water gates after protests by Lam Luk Ka residents in Pathum Thani.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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