Huge crowd shuts down water-plan forum

Huge crowd shuts down water-plan forum

More than 10,000 people showed up at a public forum on the government's Bt350-billion water-management scheme yesterday to express their opposition, bringing the meeting to a quick end.

The forum was being held at Ratchaburi-based Muban Chombueng Rajabhat Institute.

Provincial governor Nisit Jansomwong also joined local residents in taking a stand against the proposed 34-kilometre long flood-diversion channel, which would run between Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi provinces.

"We object to this proposal because it is not based on a complete and careful study," Nisit said as he handed in a list of 10,000 people who are opposed to the scheme.

In the wake of the 2011 flood crisis, the government set aside a Bt350-billion (S$13.7 million) budget to overhaul the country's water-management system.

However, details of the modules emerged later and it remains to be seen if the public would endorse all the modules prepared by the Water and Flood Management Commis-sion (WFMC).

The WFMC is getting ready to hold 36 public forums in 36 provinces to listen to the opinions of local residents. Three were held yesterday in Ratchaburi, Chaiyaphum and Suphan Buri.

The forum in Chaiyaphum focused on the proposed construction of the Chi Bon and the Yangnadee dams. More than 200 residents showed up with banners lambasting the plan. They also accused relevant authorities of excluding them when gathering people's opinions.

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