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Bt20 billion post-flood rehabilitation budget

Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday endorsed a budget of almost Bt20 billion for post-flood rehabilitation, and opted to waive the 3-month visa fee for foreigners travelling to Thailand on rehabilitation missions to help restore industries affected by this year’s flooding.

Government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisang said the cabinet approved in principle two budget items – one for infrastructure and another for restoring quality of life – totalling Bt19.7 billion.

Basic infrastructure restoration included Don Mueang Airport, roads, educational institutions, government offices, religious and historical sites with a budget of 12.9 billion baht.

The other budget of Bt6.8 billion will be allocated to 198 projects of six ministries to improve the public’s quality of life.

Urgent projects such as fixing flood-ravaged roads can be implemented immediately without approval from the cabinet.

Moreover, the cabinet also agreed with a Foreign Ministry proposal for Thai embassies around the world waive visa fees for businessmen, experts and engineers coming to Thailand on flood assistance missions for 90-day stays in order to help revive flood-affected industries.

The prime minister will chair meetings of agencies concerned to discuss specific details of rehabilitation of each province, Ms Thitima said.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk and Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi were assigned to speed pumping water out from 80-100 housing estates, which remain under water in Bangkok and Pathum Thani. The work should be completed by Dec 31, so residents can move back to their homes on Jan1 as a New Year’s gift.

The Interior Ministry was instructed to help rehabilitate flood victims and to report to the cabinet every week.

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