By The Nation
Meanwhile, several civil organisations took a 3,000-page file to the Central Administrative Court to file lawsuits against four state agencies, including the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), for reportedly failing to consider public opinions on the project.
The documents were submitted by representatives of the River Assembly, the People’s Art and Culture Foundation, the Civil Society Planning Network, and the Riverside Community Network to file lawsuits against the Cabinet, the Chao Phraya promenade project coordinating committee, the Interior Ministry and the BMA.
The groups’ representative Sor Rattanamanee Polkla said the 3,000-page file – which includes details about the project, results of related studies, media reports and the group’s earlier letters objecting to the project – will be sufficient for the court to consider accepting the case. She said the project is expected to lead to several problems, and many of its steps along the way are not legal, such as the lack of public participation.
“We thought the project was already scrapped, until we heard that the BMA lodged a plan with the Interior Ministry to seek a contractor. That’s why we have to sue the BMA. If we let this go to the bidding stage, then it will cause damage to the state and private firms that join the bidding,” she said, adding that they aim to seek an immediate injunction to stop the project from progressing and eventually have it cancelled.
The BMA is already close to selecting a bidder for the Bt8.36-billion first phase of the project to build a 7-kilometre-long promenade on either side of the river from Rama VII Bridge to the Somdet Phra Pinklao Bridge.
Aswin, meanwhile, insisted the project was transparent at all stages, adding that its designer, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, was in the process of adjusting the plans for a 10-metre-wide bicycle lane along the river as well as other structures and landscape aspects.
Once the design is completed by June, the project will then move to the Terms of Reference stage to make way for e-bidding, Aswin added, during which time the project will be unveiled to the public and opened up for debate.
He added that the government had already approved a Bt10-billion budget for the project.