Hi-Tech Industrial Estate kick starts operations

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The Hi-Tech Industrial Estate last Thursday held an event announcing their readiness to resume operations and boost investor confidence after the park was under water from Oct 13-Nov 26.

Called ‘Restart to Operation’, the event was attended by Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri, provincial, investment and industrial estate-related persons.

There are 143 plants at Hi-Tech with investments of Bt60 billion, employing 60,000 workers. Some 90 factories, nearly two-thirds, have now resumed operations.

Tavich Techanavagul, the industrial park’s chief executive, said about 3 percent of the plants were expected to relocate their production bases elsewhere due to the flood crisis and lower wage requirements in other countries. However, the percentage was considered low.

Around Bt100 million is needed for rehabilitation and Bt200 million for future flood control by building permanent flood walls 5.4m high and 11km long.

Hi-Tech Industrial Estate will seek a loan from the government’s fund of Bt15 billion with a special interest rate at 0.01 percent for the period of seven years, while the loan period lasts 15 years. The private sector wants the government to consider further assistance in the form of a favorable interest rate for the last eight years.

Tavich said Hi-Tech will ask the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) to allow a rising public utilities rate of Bt1,200-1,500/rai/month instead of the current Bt900 -1,000/rai/month for payment for flood embankment construction.

He added the private sector wished to see some clarity regarding water management, which the government should announce by the end of December in order to boost confidence among all sectors.

Meanwhile, IEAT Governor Monta Pranutnorapan expected that all five flooded industrial estates in the province would be able to resume operations by January.

She said a decision will be made by next week regarding which industrial park the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will allocate a special loan of 500 million yen for building flood walls.

In a related matter, the Provincial Electricity Authority has restored full power to Hi-Tech, Factory Land and Bang Pa-In industrial parks.