Govt takes heed of warning against uncontrolled EEC development
The government took note of a Senate committee’s warning that the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) could have long-term adverse impacts, before handing it over to the EEC Office.
Government deputy spokesperson Traisulee Trisaranakul said on Sunday that the Senate committee on tackling poverty and inequality presented its guidelines on preventing social, environmental and health impacts EEC projects may have on local communities.
She added that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha then forwarded this report to the Office of the EEC Policy Committee to consider. The report was also forwarded to the Industry, Interior, Social Development and Human Security and the Natural Resources and Environment Ministries as well as other relevant state agencies.
The spokesperson said Prayut had instructed the agencies to consider how the Senate panel’s proposals can be practically implemented.
The report presented possible negative impacts EEC developments can have, such as farmland can be taken away from farmers to expand urban areas, while factories can cause pollution and degradation of natural resources. The report also warned of inadequate water supply and poor management of industrial pollutants.
The committee proposed that the government use its Strategic Environmental Assessment system to proactively manage the potential negative impacts of EEC developments.
It also urged the EEC Policy Committee to promote eco-friendly industries for the sake of the environment and quality of life of local people.
To do this, it also encouraged the EEC Office to get local people involved in decision-making and evaluation of issues that may affect their way of living or livelihoods.
It said the EEC Office should urge businesses to help develop the potential of local people, so they too can have a hand in the development of their area.
Traisulee said the EEC Office recently met with relevant government agencies and they acknowledged the proposals. The EEC Office said many of the points suggested were already part of its plans and will be implemented in due course. As for those not in its plans, it has agreed to adopt and integrate them into its system gradually.
Meanwhile, Prayut is scheduled to chair a meeting with the EEC on Monday to follow up on the implementation of several investment projects and key social measures, Traisulee said.