Thursday, November 14, 2019

Stimulus scheme 'won't fund the reservoirs we need'

Oct 12. 2015
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By VISARUT SANKHAM
THE NATION

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THE government's Bt5 million-per-tambon initiative has been answering the various needs of local people. Yet, some community leaders have pointed out that all projects for such funding focus on just short-term implementation.

“In fact, locals want reservoirs. They believe if they build reservoirs, they will be able to avoid water shortage. But they can’t get funding from this government initiative for reservoirs. Work process for reservoir construction will take quite a long time,” said Adul Muangrak, the kamnan of Tambon Ban Ko in Uttaradit’s Muang district. 
Designed to spur the country’s stagnant economy, this intiative requires that projects receiving its funding be completed before year-end. 
“Residents of Tambon Ban Ko have been suffering from drought,” Adul said, pointing out that hundreds of corn plantations are now withering because of water shortage. 
He said locals badly wanted reservoirs but they were aware that it would take a long time to proceed with such projects and thus dyke projects definitely would not get funding from the government’s economic-stimulus initiative. 
“We stand no chance of completing projects within a few months,” the kamnan said. 
Adul revealed that his tambon administrative organisation had received 20 project proposals from locals, who are seeking a share of the Bt5-million-per-tambon grant. 
He said the projects can be put into three main categories: occupational support; road repairs and construction; and water-supply improvement. All of them are aimed at responding to locals’ needs. For example, there are projects to provide training on weaving and cooking flower-puddings, as such skills will help locals earn supplementary income. Road-related projects focus on connecting rural farmlands with main roads, to ensure that farmers can easily send their crop to markets. 
“Some projects seek to replace water pipes for villages. The current ones are more than 20 years old,” Adul said. He explained that village committees were in place to review which projects qualify to get funding from the government’s new initiative. 
Teerasak Ponrit, the kamnan of Tambon Mae Rak Klang in Sukhothai, said his tambon proposed 10 projects for funding. He said all these projects are about tackling water issues. Given that locals have been suffering from water shortage over the past six months, they want projects for water solutions.
“They are planning to construct check dams in rivers. These structures are expected to help them ensure adequate water supply next year,” Teerasak said. 
Veerachai Vichetcheng, kamnan of Tambon Klongchanak in Surat Thani, said his tambon has received the budget under the economic-stimulus measure already.
“There are eight projects for funding,” he said. 
He said five of eight projects are for construction of roads designed to support local tourism. Three other projects are for occupational support, which are about making shrimp paste and making coconut oil. 
Nukai Krenu, kamnan of Tambon Nong-or in Udon Thani, said his tambon had planned to establish a village cooperative which would create job opportunities for locals.
“Then, there will be no need for locals to leave their hometowns in search of jobs. The cooperative can buy equipment such as sewing machines clothing materials for villagers to make a livelihood under the cooperative’s umbrella,” he said. 
The cooperative project is one of the 13 projects his co-operative to be implemented in his tambon under the government’s economic-stimulus measure. Other projects are about dyke building, repairing village’s pavilion, career supporting, and agriculture supporting in community.

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