Monday, March 17, 2008

Cancelled new provinces - Nakhon Suvarnabhumi

In 2005 the plans to create a new province around the new Bangkok International Airport (Suvarnabhumi Airport) were made public by the Thaksin administration. The new province - or actually it was supposed to become a special administrative area with an elected governor - was to be named Nakhon Suvarnabhumi (นครสุวรรณภูมิ). Two district from Bangkok, Lat Krabang and Prawet, and two districts from Samut Prakan, Bang Sao Thong and Bang Phli, were to become this new province. The airport, which was opened in 2006, is located in Bang Phli district, was supposed to be the center of the new province, with a whole new town developed around it.

The plan did get quite some opposition, not only by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) led by the Democratic party. Among the point criticized was the location of the airport within low lands needed for flood control of Bangkok, and with the rising sea levels due to global warming building a new city on such flood prone land would be ridiculous. The development around the airport would also hinder eventual extensions of the airport, and would of course also get most of the noise from the planes starting and landing - nowadays most new airports are located well out of the city they serve for exactly these reasons. Also stripping of about half of Samut Prakan province would reduce the tax income of that province considerably.

In the months after the initial announcement the political crisis got more and more worse, so the cabinet delayed the final bill on the creation of this province until a correctly elected parliament could approve it. But it did not come to this anymore, as the military staged a coup d'état on September 19 2006 ousting the Thaksin government. Half year later, on April 4, the last newspaper article on the planned province was printed in the English press, suggesting that the province plans were to be axed completely soon. I also haven't heard anything about this plan now the new elected government came into office, restarting several of the projects halted or scrapped by the military government, so it seems this province plan is really dead now.

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