Roads still in ru­ins af­ter power swap


The Trans­port Min­istry is in talks with a Na­tional Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly (NLA) com­mit­tee on ways to deal with dam­aged roads that have not been well main­tained since be­ing en­trusted to the care of lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tive or­gan­i­sa­tions (LOAs).

Deputy Trans­port Min­is­ter Pailin Chu­chot­ta­worn said an ideal so­lu­tion would be to trans­fer the roads in ques­tion back to ei­ther the Depart­ment of High­ways (DH) or the Depart­ment of Ru­ral Roads (DRR).

The prob­lem stems from a re­cent push to de­cen­tralise power, he said.

Ju­ris­dic­tion over a num­ber of roads built by the two de­part­ments was trans­ferred to the LOAs but the law pro­hibits send­ing them back, he added.

The min­istry and NLA need to have more de­tailed dis­cus­sions to thrash out a so­lu­tion, Mr Pailin said.

“The de­part­ments have tried to help those LOAs with cov­er­ing the costs of re­pair­ing their dam­aged roads, but if they con­tinue re­solv­ing the prob­lem this way, they may en­counter prob­lems with the Of­fice of the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral [OAG],” he added.

He was re­fer­ring to the of­fice’ s au­dit­ing of the de­part­ments’ bud­getary spend­ing in ar­eas that are not their di­rect re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The roads get dam­aged eas­ily due to heavy cargo trucks, ne­ces­si­tat­ing con­stant and costly main­te­nance and re­pair.

LOAs asked to take care of them strug­gle with the lengthy and slow process of seek­ing ap­proval to al­lo­cate their bud­gets in this area, said Mr Pailin.

Un­der the de­cen­tralised power law, the DRR is re­quired to trans­fer ju­ris­dic­tion over the roads it has built — mak­ing for a com­bined length of 72,010km — to the LOAs, he added.

Roads to­tal­ing 66,836km in length have al­ready been trans­ferred but 726 LOAs have asked that 1,768 roads to­talling 10,119km be re­turned to the DRR, he said.

The depart­ment has a sim­i­lar prob­lem with sea wharves it has built and trans­ferred to the Trea­sury Depart­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.