By NATTHAPAT PHROMKAEW
PRIME Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday he plans to push forward with a number of projects, including “monkey-cheek” development and power-plant construction.
“We have to go ahead with our plans to keep pace with the changing world,” he said during a trip to inspect a royally-initiated project in Pathum Thani province.
He said that if the country does not implement solutions, problems related to energy, garbage, water, and other issues would persist and get worse.
“For example, if we don’t build more power plants, we won’t have energy security. At least 60 per cent of the country’s electricity demand should be met by our own plants, not others,” Prayut said.
“If we buy from others, we can’t know exactly what will happen next. What if we could not get electricity … what would we do?”
At present, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand’s (Egat) directly produces electricity for just 40 per cent of the country’s demand. The rest is bought from other sources, including 10 per cent from overseas.
On water management, Prayut said it was time people helped end the repeated cycle of drought and floods.
“The government is trying to help. But some people don’t understand our planned actions,” he said.
He hoped Pathum Thani would become one of the first provinces to proceed with the government’s water-management projects and serve as a model for others.
He said the country had not |suffered any major floods, such as |in 2011, due to the government’s careful water management.
He said HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the much-beloved monarch who passed away on October 13, had already provided a guideline.
“Monkey cheeks and small canals, for example, can help fight drought and floods,” he said. (‘Monkey cheeks’ refers to areas to store water, as monkeys are known to hold water in their cheeks.)
Prayut reiterated that some |farming areas might need to serve as water-storage areas but the government would provide compensation. “This way, we are helping one |another,” he said.
Prayut headed to the Chaipattana Foundation yesterday to meet Sumet Tantivejkul, its secretary general, to discuss water-management. Also present at the meeting were representatives of the private sector pledging support for the government’s Pracha Rath projects.
The Chaipattana Foundation was established in response to an initiative of the late King.