Network opposes renewal of gold miner's licence

A network of people affected by gold mining in Phichit and Phetchabun provinces is campaigning against any renewal of the licence of the country's largest gold miner, Akara Resources Ltd, which expires on May 31.

About 60 representatives of the network on Tuesday petitioned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), to disallow the licence renewal.

The complaint was lodged at the complaints centre at the PM’s office of the permanent secretary’s public service centre.

Thailand drafting plan to end annual smoke haze in SE Asia

CHIANG MAI – Thailand is taking the lead in drafting a plan to set Asean on the road to becoming haze-free, hopefully controlling the annual smog that settles across the region from farmers burning off fields and forests.

The initiative emerged from a meeting of a working group of senior Asean officials in Chiang Mai, chaired by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gen Surasak Karnjanarat, to draft a roadmap for a sustainable solution to the problem.

Activists slam 'fast-track' order

A grassroots network has lashed out at the use of special powers to "fast track" mandatory environmental impact assessments (EIA) for megaprojects.

A network of 46 civic groups, including Sueb Nakhasathien Foundation (SNF) and the Stop Global Warming Association (SGWA), issued a statement Wednesday, calling on the government to scrap an order issued on Monday by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief.

Junta order well-intentioned, but is it the right way?

Activists see this order as bringing cheer to the business sector, but suffering to people.

The junta's order can be seen as an attempt to boost the economy by investment spending considering the withering exports.

Since Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha took power in 2014, a number of projects that were supposed to have taken off have fallen short of the government's target. One of the main reasons is the long period required for the EIA process, resulting in construction costs and compensation for land expropriation surging. Some projects took as long as eight years to pass the EIA.

NCPO order number 9/2559 defended

Mrs Raweewan Phuridet, secretary-general of ONREPP, disclosed Thursday that there is now a backlog of some 2,400 projects under consideration regarding their environment impacts assessment studies.

Since the deliberation process is lengthy and time consuming, she said that order number 9/2559 which will help speed up the implementation of over 70 major projects, especially transport mega projects.

PM must stick to his promise

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha reiterated the country's commitment to sustainable development to representatives of the G77, a coalition of developing countries in the United Nations, at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

As the current chairman of G77, he urged member countries to do the same and work together to promote sustainable development.

Last September, the premier also told the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York that he supported pro-people, inclusive development that respects the rule of law.

Now he must prove true to his words.

Airport-to-Patong speedboat shuttle service passes EIA

PHUKET: The proposed project to offer a speedboat shuttle service from Phuket International Airport to Patong has passed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), confirmed the governor today.

“We are glad to have the support of the central government for the ‘From the Boat to the Plane’ project,” said Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada. “It’s an excellent idea as an alternative transport solution for tourists.”