PHUKET: Pongrat Piromrat, Director-General of the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, for the whole country, wa sin Patong yesterday (Nov 22) to see firsthand what was causing the town to repeatedly flood with each heavy downpour.
Patong, along with much of the island, suffered heavy flooding during the incessant downpours last month, but most recently flooded again with just one downpour last Thursday afternoon (Nov 18).
Local officials later identified the ongoing installation of new drains near the wastewater plant in Patong as the cause of the problem. The project is installing new, larger drains in order to exand the drainage capacity of the channel there.
During his inspection yesterday, Mr Pongrat was joined by Sommit Somboon, Inspector-General of the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, and Viboon Leepattanakit, Director of the Office of Structural Engineering and Work Systems.
Taking point in inspection was Pramote Promthong, a civil engineer with special expertise as the Chief of the Flood Prevention Group Office of Support and Development.
Representing Phuket to highlight how seriously local officials were taking the problem were two Phuket Vice Governors ‒ Pichet Panaphong and Amnuay Pinsuwan ‒ along with Kathu District Chief Siwat Rawarangkul and Patong Mayor Chalermsak Maneesri along with a handful Phuket Provincial and Patong Municipality Public Works and Town Planning officers.
Mr Pongrat was told that construction of the project to expand the drains had been ongoing since 2016.
Under the government contract, the deadline for completing the project is this month, November 2021, said an official report of the visit.
However, the project, operating under a budget of “about B222 million”, had not yet been completed, the report added, stating the obvious.
“The delay in construction caused problems. It was found that the project caused people to suffer from flooding during heavy rains,” the report, unsigned, admitted.
Steel sheet piles under construction and construction rubble blocked the passage of water, causing an obstruction in the waterway, exacerbating drainage problems during heavy rain, the report explained.
After hearing this, Mr Pongrat instructed local Public Works and Town Planning officers to draw up a plan to have the project completed “as soon as possible” in order to “alleviate the suffering of the people”.
The plan is to be submitted to the national office of the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, the report added.
“We must take into account the suffering of the people. This is important,” Mr Pongrat said.
“The goal is that the construction must be completed by September 2023, with staff from the Department of Public Works and Town Planning keeping a close eye on operations every month,” he said.
“And if it is found that any work that the contractor company is unable to perform, it must be forwarded to other companies that can perform it immediately in order to avoid delays in the work,” he added.
As an urgent matter, Mr Pongrat, under advisement of his accompanying experts, ordered for more steel sheet piles to be removed to open the drainage channel during heavy rains so that the water could drain quickly.
Source: The Phuket News
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