Plodprasop: Backs alternative study
4/07/2012 at 09:14 AM by Bangkokpost
The cabinet has approved a budget of 200 million baht for an atmospheric study suggested by Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi. The budget was approved in response to Nasa's cancellation of its proposed climate research project to be conducted from U-tapao airport in Ranong. Mr Plodprasop, responding to requests from Thai scientists, proposed the alternative project after Nasa withdrew plans to use U-tapao naval airbase for its climate research work. The pullout came after the cabinet had failed to make a decision on the United States' request by its June 26 deadline. A group of about 20 scientists from five universities and the Geo-Informatics and Space Development Agency submitted a petition on Monday to Mr Plodprasop, asking for his support for a domestic atmospheric study to be carried out by Thai scientists. The cabinet also approved the draft terms of reference (ToR) for the government's scheme to spend 300 billion baht on 14 water management projects, Mr Plodprasop said. Both local and international firms are allowed to apply to be selected as consultants for the water scheme, he said.The ministry will make an announcement next week requesting interested companies to formally ask for a copy of the ToR, he said. A firm must have investment capital of at least 10% of the scheme's value, or 30 billion baht, in order to be considered. International ambassadors to Thailand will be invited to a briefing next week on the ToR and will be informed that foreign companies are also welcome to participate in the selection of consultants, Mr Plodprasop said. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday conceded that flood prevention work in upstream areas was now facing delays and she has asked for the work to be sped up as the monsoon season nears. The work was supposed to be completed by last month, the premier said. She said she had also ordered an urgent investigation into a series of land subsidence incidents in some provinces affected by last year's floods. She said she was more concerned about the construction of permanent flood-prevention structures, as they would take a much longer time due to the lengthy process of procurement. Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the party's legal team was considering lodging a libel suit against Mr Plodprasop for accusing them of causing Nasa to cancel its project. Mr Chavanond said Mr Plodprasop had used state-run Channel 11 to distort facts about the Nasa debate.