Court halts Bt350 billion water management project

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BANGKOK, June 27 – The Administrative Court today suspended the government’s mega water management project pending a compulsory environmental impact assessment (EIA) and public hearing before the design and construction start.

The government recently announced bid winners, including the heavily-criticised Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water), for the Bt350 billion project.

The court said four high-level state officials including Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra breached the law in approving the water management master plan without going through  environmental assessments and public hearings.

The Anti-Global Warming Association and 45 individual members earlier filed a lawsuit to the court against the government in the controversial water management projects.

Association members said they would deliver the court’s ruling to the National Anti-Corruption Commission for further action.

Tongthong Chandrangsu, permanent secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office, said the government accepted the court’s decision and will call a meeting of the National Water and Flood Management Policy tomorrow to discuss details of the court’s ruling and determine if it could be appealed.

He admitted that the court’s verdict could delay the water resources management project while the Finance Ministry would be asked if the Bt350 billion budget for the project will be in jeopardy.

He gave assurances that the government would communicate with the public about the project and that it would inform the four bid winners.