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Industrial estates in Bangkok at higher risk of flooding.

BANGKOK, Nov. 1 Kyodo

Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra on Tuesday warned two industrial estates in eastern Bangkok that they are at risk of flooding as the metropolitan government in Bangkok has been ordered to open canal sluice gates to alleviate flooding in upstream communities.

The governor's warning came a day after he received an order from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to raise the barrier at the sluice gate in the Khlong Sam Wa canal to 1 meter to allow more water to flow under the gate.

Sukhumbhand disagreed with Yingluck's policy and urged the premier to stick to the city's flood prevention plan instead of giving in to the demand from upstream communities.

''We have had our measures to protect eastern Bangkok from flooding. We should stand firm against the demand of a group of people as we have to care for the interests of the public at large,'' the governor said.

Furious residents living upstream of the Khlong Sam Wa canal earlier tried to forcibly raise the sluice gate and demanded that the authorities ease flooding in their communities by channeling more water through the canal.

On Sunday, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration agreed to raise the sluice gate up to 0.8 meter, but the flooded upstream communities demanded more.

In addition to the dispute over the sluice gate at Khlong Sam Wa, Sukhumbhand said he wants the government to regulate the water flow at two canals north of the Lad Krabang Industrial Estate by keeping the sluice gate level at 0.3 meter.

A senior army officer involved in defending the Bangchan Industrial Estate in the Minburi district told a local TV station that floodwater might have already reached the vicinity of the industrial complex.

But he said the situation ''is not alarming,'' noting that each factory at the estate has made adequate preparation against flooding.

An official of the Lad Krabang Industrial Estate located just north of Suvarnabhumi airport also told a radio news station the complex has so far been unaffected.

The Lad Krabang Industrial Estate is home to 224 factories and companies, including a motorcycle production plant of Honda Motor Co.

Attempting to slow down the flow of floodwater from the upper part of the country, the authorities have dumped some 4,000 large sandbags, each containing 2 tons of earth, at a northern outskirt of Bangkok and created a 3-kilometer-wide barrier to lessen flooding in inner Bangkok.

On Tuesday, several of the most important business areas in central Bangkok remained free of the serious flooding now inundating most of the Thai capital's northern and western districts.

The areas, including the Silom, Sathorn, Siam Square and Sukhumvit areas popular with shoppers and tourists, were safe and most businesses were still running.

Street vendors in Chinatown have complained there have been less tourists and shoppers.

Most buildings in the areas were protected by sandbag barriers and in many cases employees have been asked to stay in hotels or high-rise condos near their offices or shops in case the severe flooding elsewhere reaches the city center.

At least 381 people have been killed and millions more displaced or otherwise affected since floods began hitting Thailand in late July.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9THAI
Date:Nov 7, 2011
Words:531
Previous Article:UPDATE1: Central Bangkok remains safe from flooding Monday.
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