Map Ta Phut concerns refuse to fade away

By Malini Hariharan

Companies with projects at Thailand’s Map Ta Phut must have heaved a sigh of relief last week after the Administrative court ruled that 74 out of 76 suspended projects could move ahead after completing health impact assessment studies and obtaining necessary approvals. The court’s decision was based on a list of 11 harmful industries identified by the government that

But Map Ta Phut residents are unwilling to give up their fight to curb new investments at the country’s premier industrial estate and there are signs that the conflict will continue in one form or the other.

Srisuwan Janya, a lawyer fighting on behalf of Map Ta Phut residents, has vowed to appeal the court ruling. He believes the court has wrongly applied the list retrospectively and complained that the Map Ta Phut projects had been let “off the hook”.

And the four party panel, led by Thailand’s former prime minister Anand Panyarachun, has questioned the government’s decision to trim the list of harmful industries from 11 from the 18 that it had suggested.

Source: Bangkok Post

Anand said that while it was the government’s prerogative to disagree with the list, it needed to offer the public a credible explanation as to why certain types of activities were not included.

A rally has been planned for 30 September by Map Ta Phut residents to protest against the new list.

But even as the people and politicians fight it out companies are preparing to resume project activity.

PTT Chemical is scheduled to soon start test runs at its expanded high-density polyethylene (hdPE) plant. Trial production is expected to start in October with commercial production by early 2011.

And PTT expects to start its No 6 gas separation plant in the fourth quarter. Once this is up and running PTT Chemical will be able to secure sufficient ethane to raise operating rates at its new cracker.

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