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Thread: Govt rebuked over flood payouts
10-06-12, 02:22 AM #1Paknam Web Online Staff
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Govt rebuked over flood payouts
Govt rebuked over flood payouts
PM promises independent assessment of damages
Published: 10/06/2012 at 02:01 AMNewspaper section: News
The government has bowed to a barrage of complaints about unfair flood compensation payments and will consider bringing in a neutral body to assess damage costs.
Complaints have poured in from victims of the floods from Pathum Thani to Nonthaburi.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday admitted there were shortcomings in the flood compensation payment process as a result of different interpretations and views by state agencies responsible for assessing damage costs.
Therefore the government would improve the flood compensation payment system by appointing a neutral agency to assess damage costs, Ms Yingluck said in her weekly television and radio programme broadcast live during her flood inspection trip in Nonthaburi province yesterday.
She raised the issue while more than 500 residents hit by last year's floods were gathering in front of Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong municipal office to protest unfair compensation payouts.
The disgruntled protesters threatened to block a main road tomorrow if nothing is done to solve the problem.
Ms Yingluck said the compensation payments for flood victims were based on criteria set by the Interior Ministry. Problems arose as there were different interpretations regarding the costing of different types of damage.
Several state agencies, including tambon administration organisations, provincial administration organisations and provincial authorities, are responsible for assessing damages and each had different views as to how compensation should be awarded.
The government therefore may have to bring in a neutral agency to assess damages to ensure fair compensation for all affected households, Ms Yingluck said.
She has asked the Interior Ministry to look into allegations of unfair compensation payments from certain provinces. The ministry will review the payments .
Ms Yingluck also expressed distress over people making fun of her "aow yoo, or "we can handle it", remark.
She said she was asked by a reporter if a sandbag dyke would be able to hold off floodwater in a certain area. However, her remark was interpreted to mean the overall situation, she said.
"I can't help wonder why they had to make so much fun of me and turn my words against me.
"It turned out that I had to take responsibility for a remark [which was taken out of context]," she said.
Bang Bua Thong protesters said they were upset by what they called unfair compensation payouts.
A list of recipients receiving compensation payouts from the municipality showed Khruephan Pinkaew, a recipient and also a Bang Bua Thong municipal councillor, received compensation as high as 85,000 baht. However, other recipients received only a few thousand baht, the group claimed.
The municipality yesterday sent officials to clarify the matter by claiming that there were some typing errors regarding the amount of compensation given to Mrs Khruephan.
The protesters refused to accept the explanation and threatened to block Bang Plu intersection tomorrow.
Nonthaburi Governor Wichian Putthiwinyu said an inquiry would be launched into the payment given to Mrs Khruephan.
The amount of compensation for damage to houses was about 20,000 to 40,000 baht based on the extent of the damage, Mr Wichian said.
"No one receives such a high amount. A probe will be launched," the governor said.
A resident who declined to be named said there were different rates of compensation in the same neighbourhoods. He wanted the government to pay 20,000 baht to all households equally.
Earlier, villagers in Pathum Thani blocked roads several times, calling for fairer flood compensation payouts.
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