Light at the end of the Superhighway tunnels
To be completed in 6 months says Govt. official
Motorists can finally start counting the days as someone has put a
completion date to the Superhighway saga that has lasted for more than five
That someone is Deputy Transport Minister Sansern Wongchaum who boldly
promised that the underpass construction projects at Kuang Singh and San Dek
intersections will be completed within six months.
anyone? The work stopped in February and has served as a rain collection
The original contractor, Jirathep Partnership, was awarded the task in 2002
and was obligated to complete the project by May of 2006. The contractor
then claimed the company was adversely affected by higher prices of fuels,
construction materials and transportation causing him cash flow difficulties
and work on the Superhighway came to a halt in February of this year.
After a careful consideration, the Highway Department agreed that the
contractor was unable to complete the project and the contract was
have long faced dangerous obstacles like this dug up hole along the
Superhighway ready to swallow a car or motorbike.
Jirathep Partnership Construction Company now faces a 50 million baht
lawsuit and has been blacklisted by government agencies from future work.
“The criteria for contractors should focus on their experience and financial
status, whereas Jirathep Partnership will be blacklisted from future
government bids,” said Songsak Paecharoen, the Director General of the
The Kuang Singh intersection is now being completed by the bridge
construction unit from Phichit province and the San Dek intersection will be
completed by the bridge construction unit from Khon Kaen province.
The construction at the Kuang Singh underpass is 67 percent complete and the
San Dek intersection currently stands at 70 percent.
Locals lobby PM for a convention center
Mr. Narong Tanannuwat, right,
President of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce presents a letter to Premier
Chulanont lobbying for a convention and exhibition center to be built in
Chiang Mai. (CMM Photo)
The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce (CCC) urged Prime
Minister Gen. Surayud Chulanont to support the construction of a new
international convention and exhibition center.
The Prime Minister was told by members of the CCC that a new convention
center would bring in 2 billion baht in the local economy and boost tourism
The group of local business leaders led by President of CCC Narong
Tanannuwat also acting as Chairman of Joint Public and Private Sectors
Consultative Committee (JPPCC) submitted the petition in a letter to PM Gen
Surayud Chulanont during his visit to the city where he presided over a
seminar for 500 participants of the Northern mass media entitled in
“Government meets local Press”.
The JPPCC, composed of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, Chiang Mai Federation
of Thai Industries and Chiang Mai Bankers Club believe the project is
essential to boost the provincial economy and other Northern provinces.
Currently the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has set aside funds for a
convention center worth about 600 million baht in its budget plan of 2008.
(See story page 5)
However, the project might fail as the government has not set up a bid
process for the site. (CMM Reporters)
Mayor gets jail
Poolsawat Worawan, a former deputy Mayor of Chiang Mai
was handed an 8 year 6 month jail sentence for his role in helping embezzle
funds from a Chinese couple who sought illegal refuge in Chiang Mai.
Chinese couple shown here in a file picture after their arrest and
His cohort, former municipal council member Pitak Tantisak was given 12
years and 6 months behind bars while Phichit businessman Prasit Jiamchit was
sentenced to 18 months.
Charges against four other defendants were dropped in this case that has
been in the courts for years before finally reaching a verdict.
The story began in 1995 when Shen Mun Sung, also known as Ar Liew and his
wife entered the country illegally with massive amounts of stolen cash. The
Chinese couple befriended the former politicians and businessman who helped
them launder the loot.
The fugitive couple was then able to obtain Thai citizenship, purchase
homes, cars and at least 10 aliases with the help of the convicted trio.
The former deputy Mayor went as far as to give Ar Liew employment as a
consultant to the Municipality of Chiang Mai.
Five years later Ar Liew and his wife Nipa Somjai (her Thai alias) were
arrested, apparently after the Thai government was tipped off by the Chinese
government. The couple provided the Thai authorities with a detailed account
about their fugitive life and the overly generous politicians in Chiang Mai
before being deported to China where they were jailed. (CMM Reporters)
World famous exiled
monk visits Chiang Mai
Monks and nuns gather in chant
at Wat Suan Dok temple in Chiang Mai. (CMM Photo)
Thich Nhat Hanh, a world famous Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk living in exile
in France, visited Chiang Mai last week to lead prayers and give talks on
the occasion of the worldwide Visakabucha day, the day of religious
observance in commemoration of the birth, the enlightenment and the death of
Thich Nhat Hanh arrived in Chiang Mai on May 22nd and met the faculty of
senior monks followed by a visit to the famous sites in Chiang Mai. That
evening he spoke about Buddha with hundreds of followers at the Wat Suan Dok
Thich then spent five days of prayer activity at Lanna Human Resources
Development Centre in San Kamphaeng district before returning to Bangkok
where he will joined leading Buddhist monks from over 60 countries who
participated in the fourth International Buddhist Conference on the United
Nations Day of Vesak 2007. At least 10,000 Buddhist monks, both Mahayana and
Theravada attended the conference.
The discussions covered several topics involving the Buddhist Contribution
to Good Governance and Development.
The theme has been selected by the organizing committee in line with the
development activities of His Majesty the King which have been recognized by
the United Nations as models of sustainable development and was presented by
Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh.
As this year coincides with the 80th birthday anniversary of His Majesty the
King, the Buddhist leaders will assemble for chanting and meditation at the
Temple of the Emerald Buddha to offer blessings to His Majesty the King.
Thais and foreigners fill the
temple to listen to Thich Nhat Hanh.
Cobra Gold wraps up
Representatives from Thailand, the United States,
Singapore, Japan, and Indonesia attended ceremonies marking the closing of
multilateral military exercise Cobra Gold’07 that took place from May 8-18,
2007 and was hailed as a success by all of the participants.
Deputy Supreme Commander Gen. Pairoj Panichsamai, U.S. Ambassador Ralph L.
Boyce, Singapore Ambassador Peter Chan Jer Hing, Japan Deputy Chief of
Niimi, and Indonesian Minister Wisnu Edii Pratignyo attended the closing
ceremony at the Ambassador City Hotel Jomtien, Chon Buri province.
US Ambassador Boyce said, “I’d also like to underscore the fact that the
work you do in this exercise can help us save lives in future contingencies,
peace keeping deployments, and responses to disaster.”
Representatives from all of the participating nations also presided over a
ceremony to dedicate multipurpose buildings at Wat Ban Nai Rai School and
Ban Nong Krub School in Rayong province.
During Cobra Gold ’07, troops built four multipurpose buildings and
conducted seven medical, dental and veterinary clinics in villages
throughout the exercise area including Rayong, Petchaburi, and Prachuap
Khiri Khan. (CMM Reporters)
Volunteers to tackle corruption
Chiang Mai Governor Wichai
Srikwan opens the training seminar for the volunteers.
Volunteers pledge and sign the
rosters as they begin their courses.
By Linda Ratchai
The Governor of Chiang Mai has inducted 506 volunteer citizens to work as
corruption busters in the province.
Governor Wichai Srikwan held a training seminar for the volunteers who will
subsequently be trained on how to identify unlawful activities, suppress
corruption and promote the government’s national agenda, set forward last
year by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont.
During the preliminary stage, the training will be carried out in two Chiang
Mai districts, namely Muang and San Pa Tong. The network includes a total of
506 volunteers from the private and public sectors in regional and local
Their duties will include promoting ethics, morality, good governance and
Preparing for the flood season
Residents will get a 12 hour warning
By Linda Ratchai
The Hydrology and Water Management Center for Upper Northern Region will now
provide a 12 hour advance flood warning to residents living along the Ping
Monitoring stations have been set up in the Chiang Dao district on the Mae
Tang and Mae Ngad rivers which flow into the Mae Ngad reservoir.
If the flow levels on these rivers exceed 400 cubic meters per second, an
alert will go out to the residents along the Ping River in Chiang Mai which
will give homeowners and businesses 12 hours to prepare for eventual
An additional monitoring station in Ban Mae Tae in the Sansai district will
provide another measuring of the water flow and update residents at least 6
hours before the Ping River exceeds its normal levels.
Mr. Thada Sukhapunnaphan, director of the Hydrology and Water Management
Center for Upper Northern Region said that flooding usually occurs from July
to September during the monsoon season. He added that the current water
level at the monitoring station in Chiang Dao is at 3.7 meters and is
The Governor of Chiang Mai, Mr. Wichai Srikwan, has ordered all local and
provincial agencies to be prepared to deal with flooding and landslides
during the rainy season.
According to the Governor there are 892 villages at risk in the province
should Chiang Mai receive major rainfall this season.
Mr. Prajon Prajsakul, head of Chiang Mai’s Disaster Prevention and
Mitigation Provincial office said that there are 113 high risk villages, 319
medium risk villages and 460 low risk villages.
A flood warning system has been installed in 238 areas around the province
and at least 718 volunteers have been trained to assist villagers for early
signs of flooding.
Meanwhile the military divisions based in the city have offered up to 1
million sand bags should they be needed to line the banks of the flood prone
Up with People
performs June 5th
Concert to benefit Support the Children Foundation
Host dad Poh Noi, host mom,
Mae Mitra with members of the Up with People advance team who spent two
months in Chiang Mai preparing for the June 3rd concert; Samantha Roman,
Paloma de la Vega and Carla De la Vega.
By Linda Ratchai
The worldly musical group Up with People will perform at Chiang Mai
University’s Main auditorium on June 5th at 6:00pm.
This special evening will benefit the Support the Children Foundation which
cares with children who are affected by HIV and the blind and deaf.
Dr. Prakong Vithayasai of the Executive Committee Support the Children
Foundation said that the Up with People International Concert and their
young international volunteers from 19 countries have helped many charitable
causes and organizations around the world. During their stay here not only
will they perform but also assist Support the Children Foundation.
Up with People was founded in 1968 to provide young adults with an
international and intercultural experience through community service and the
performing arts. In its 40 year anniversary UWP has visited over 68
countries and has 21,000 alumni for over 96 countries. The UWP show has been
seen by over 20 million people on 6 continents and the international music
and dance is presented in a format that celebrates diversity and hope.
For free tickets and or for donations to the Support the Children
Foundation, please call 053-408424 or look for more details in www.
Support-the-Children.org and www.upwithpeople.org
Its mosquito season
Foggers out in force
The Division of Sanitation of the Chiang Mai municipality has urgently
launched an operation to eliminate mosquitoes during the wet season.
The Deputy City Permanent Secretary of Chiang Mai municipality Yongyuth
Praphat, said that workers have been spraying chemicals around the city to
rid mosquitoes and their larvae since the beginning of the rainy season.
Fogging or area spraying is primarily reserved for emergency situations to
halt epidemics or rapidly reduce adult mosquito populations when they have
become severe pests. Fogging and area sprays must be properly timed to
coincide with the time of peak adult activity.
Meanwhile, residents are being asked to aid in this campaign by emptying
containers with stagnant water which is a prime source for mosquito
breeding. The larvae may be destroyed by filling depressions that collect
water, by draining ditches, or areas to remove standing water.
Container-breeding mosquitoes are particularly susceptible to source
reduction as people can be educated to remove or cover standing water in
cans, cups, and rain barrels around houses.
While outdoors it is helpful to use spray repellents on outer clothing as
well as the skin. Protection generally may be expected up to 6 hours
Oil of citronella is another type of mosquito repellent for space repelling.
Oil of citronella is the active ingredient in many of the candles, torches,
or coils that may be burned to produce a smoke that repels mosquitoes. These
are useful outdoors only under windless conditions. Their effectiveness is
somewhat less than repellents applied to the body or clothing.
For keeping mosquitoes away in the garden try planting Thai lemon grass
(Cymbopogon citratus) which is a natural and very effective mosquito
repellent. It contains the natural oil, citronella, which is safe and
effective. It grows readily into a decorative clump about 15" across and
about two feet tall.
Some common sense rules to follow when using repellents include: Wear long
sleeve shirts and pants outdoors during peak mosquito activity time periods.
Apply repellent sparingly only to exposed skin or clothing. Keep repellents
away from eyes, nostrils and lips: do not inhale or ingest repellents or get
them into the eyes. Avoid applying high-concentration (less than 30% DEET)
products to the skin, particularly of children. Avoid applying repellents to
portions of children’s hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or
mouth. Pregnant and nursing women should minimize use of repellents. Never
use repellents on wounds or irritated skin. Use repellent sparingly; one
application will last approximately 4-6 hours. Saturation does not increase
efficacy. Wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Health Office has already called for a meeting
with the directors of all hospitals in every district to discuss ways on
preventing hemorrhagic fever and malaria in the rainy season, especially
people living in the mountains. Village volunteers will be a focus for
training under this project.
Basic medicine will be offered to infected patients before reporting to the
district medical officer and further treatments in hospitals said Dr.
Surasingh Witsarutratana, Deputy Chief Medical Officer.