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3 December 2009

Thai court suspends 65 industrial projects

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Thailand’s Supreme Administrative Court on Wednesday upheld the earlier suspension of 65 factories and industrial projects in the country’s largest industrial estate – the sprawling Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in the southeastern province of Rayong -- but 11 projects designed to reduce environmental impact problems have received permission to continue operations, reported state news agency TNA.

The move, said the Bank of Thailand (BoT), could negatively impact private investment and cut Thailand’s economic recovery.

BoT Assistant Governor Paiboon Kittisrikangwan warned Wednesday that the suspension of the industrial projects could deter private investment and could cut the country's economic growth by 0.2 percentage points as the bank has earlier estimated.

Among the 11 projects are the clean energy and product quality enhancement programmes of Rayong Refinery, gas recycling enhancement done by HMC Polymers, clean energy, oil-vapour-controlling-unit installations at Star Petroleum Refining, oil-vapour-controlling-unit installations at PTT Aromatics and Refining, air pollution control improvements of Indorama Petrochem, and the chlorine vaporizer and wet scrubber installation of Aditya Berla Chemicals (Thailand).

The Thai stock market fell 2.32 percent Wednesday as some analysts said investors were concerned following the court's ruling. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index lost 16.50 points to close at 693.51 points, and the bluechip SET-50 index dropped 13.54 points to 486.96.

The Central Administrative Court issued an injunction in September ordering suspension of the 76 industrial projects at Map Ta Phut, in September due to environmental concerns.

The court injunction followed complaints from local residents and environmental groups that state agencies had failed to issue proper operating licences for the industrial projects.

Srisuwan Janya, chairman of the Stop Global Warming Association, said the ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court is what he expected. The association said it will continue monitoring all agencies concerned to ensure that 65 projects complying with the court’s ruling and being practically suspended. It also targets other 181 industrial projects nationwide to ensure they abide by the environmental law, otherwise it threatens to file a lawsuit against projects violating the law by next month.


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