Cabinet postpones decision on Phu Kradueng cable car
Conflicting views are holding up the approval of the electric cable car system for Phu Kradueng in Loei Province, Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon , Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment said today.
The budget for the 28 million baht project was put to the cabinet during its first retreat in Nong Bua Lamphu province but while there was agreement in principle to forward this matter to the Budget Bureau for consideration, the cabinet tasked Jatuporn Buruspat, the ministry’s permanent secretary, to hold discussions with relevant agencies to gather information before any decision were made.
Puangpet Chunlaiad, the Minister attached to the Office of the Prime Minister, and a former Member of Parliament for Loei, said it was unclear at this point whether the project could be completed within this government’s term, as this would depend on the Budget Bureau's prioritisation process.
The budget requested today was for the survey and design of the construction of the cable car, she noted, but also included the costs of the required environmental impact assessment (EIA). If the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment approves the EIA, it will be forwarded to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports for presentation at the next cabinet meeting.
While acknowledging some initial opposition to the construction of the cable car from residents, Puangpet said this had now been largely resolved as it would draw more tourists to the province throughout the year and generate income for local people. She also made the point that \ a cable car system would allow the elderly to ride to the mountaintop and enjoy breathtaking views.
The Phu Kradueng National Park is located in Tambon Sri Than of Loei’s Phu Kradueng district. It stretches over 348.13 square kilometres and is home to several mountain peaks ranging from 400 to 1,300 metres in altitude. The highest point is 1,316 metres above the median sea level on Kok Moei.
Attempts to build a cable car to the top of Phu Kradueng have been debated for many years. Proponents argue that it would make the park more accessible to tourists and help to reduce the environmental impacts of hiking. However, opponents have raised concerns about the potential negative impacts of a cable car on the park’s scenery and wildlife.
There are two main trails to the summit of Phu Kradueng: the main trail and the Pha Sam Yaek trail. The main trail is the most popular and is also the easiest. It is about 8.5 kilometers long and takes about 5 hours to complete. The Pha Sam Yaek trail is more challenging and at 10 km, takes about 6-8 hours to complete. Tourists usually have to hire local porters to carry their belongings to the top.