By Malini Hariharan
There is some good news for chemical companies affected by the Map Ta Phut crisis. The Thai cabinet will ask the Administrative Court to remove 19 projects from the list of 65 projects that had been ordered to stop work.
PTT's No 6 gas separation project and PTT Chemical's phenol and polyethylene projects are among the lucky 19. A full list is available here.
In another major development yesterday, the Central Administrative Court has allowed construction to resume on a steel plant as the environmental impact assessment report for this project had been approved before the 2007 Thai constitution came into effect on 24 August 2007. It had also received an operating license prior to this date.
Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister, has said that five or six more may be given the go ahead as they fall in the same category. And he has also reiterated the government's commitment to find an early solution.
But Map Ta Phut is just the start of a bigger movement.
In this blog report, Srisuwan Janya, a lawyer fighting on behalf of Map Ta Phut residents, disclosed that he was investigating as many 181 projects all over Thailand.
Pic source: Nation Multimedia
"The whole country will have to change," he said. "From now on, industry will have to worry about the environment and take care of the people. The government will have to also be much stricter about this."