Residents want equal payouts of 20,000 baht
Two road-blocking protests over compensation for flood victims paralysed two areas of Bangkok Tuesday.
About 1,000 protesters gathered inside and outside Bang Khen district's office and blocked Phahon Yothin Road.
Another group of about 300 people gathered outside Bang Kae district office and blocked Phetkasem Road.
The actions resulted in serious traffic congestion on long stretches of the roads.
Protesters demanded compensation of 20,000 baht each for flood damage instead of a maximum payout of 20,000 baht depending on officials' decisions.
They said some people had received 20,000 baht while others were paid only 200 baht or a few thousand baht despite living in the same area.
Several residents did not receive compensation because they did not submit their applications in time.
Later in the day, protesters agreed to unblock the roads when officials agreed to put forward their demands to the Interior Ministry, which is responsible for compensation.
Bang Khen district deputy chief Chavalit Maneenak said the district would reopen applications for compensation today.
He said City Hall had requested the Interior Ministry to provide equal compensation of 20,000 baht for flood victims on July 12, but the ministry had yet to respond.
Those not satisfied with their compensation can submit a petition for a review at the district office.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday chaired a teleconference with governors of provinces affected by the floods. She ordered governors to closely oversee compensation and make it fair.
She also asked governors not to allow protesters to block roads.
She defended the government's 300 billion baht water management scheme, saying that although the project was urgent, the government was not implementing it in haste.
The prime minister was responding to the opposition's claims that the government was rushing the project and giving precedence to overseas water management and construction firms over local companies.
Ms Yingluck said the government was giving an equal chance to both foreign and Thai companies with the potential to win bids to carry out the project.
Experts must urgently implement the water management scheme, which consists of proposals by the government and the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management, she said.
Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said he would hold a session on Aug 24 to answer all queries regarding the terms of reference of the scheme that have been raised by many sides. Mr Plodprasop, the Water and Flood Management Committee chairman, expects about 700 people, including the opposition and media, to take part in the event.
By Patsara Jikkham
19 July 2012
About 1,000 residents of Bang Khen district rally at the district office Tuesday to demand payment of 20,000 baht in compensation to all victims of last year’s floods. Some blocked the inbound and outbound lanes of Phahon Yothin Road to pressure the government. SURAPOLPROMSAKANA SAKOLNAKORN