Major political parties contesting for House seats in the July 3 election have promised to build the long-awaited Denchai-Chiang Rai railroad.
Kanok Wongtangarn, a party-list MP candidate from the Democrat Party, told a Nation Channel session in this northern province that the planned route, from Denchai in Lamphun province, would be further connected with southern China, Burma and Laos in later stages.
Wanchai Jongsuthanamanee, an MP candidate with Bhum Jai Thai Party, said residents had been waiting for the railway project for a long time but he would speed up the project’s implementation if his party won a place in the next government.
The Transport Ministry, which was overseen by the party during the Abhisit-led coalition, had made preparations to seek a Bt174-million budget to conduct a feasibility study on the project.
A rail line from Denchai to Chiang Rai would help lower transport costs to and from this northern province and boost its competitiveness as a centre of a four-country-cross-border economic development area involving Thailand, China, Burma and Laos.
Kanok, of the Democrat Party, said caretaker prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had also instructed the Finance Ministry to conduct a feasibility study on extending the route from Chiang Rai to the southern Chinese province of Yunnan.
There was a preliminary plan to link northern Thailand with southern China via a high-speed railway, he said, so as to boost trade and investment in the 10 northern-most provinces of Thailand.
Samart Kaewmeechai, an MP candidate from Pheu Thai party, said it was also ready to push for implementation of this railway project.
“However, we will do it as part of the high-speed train project from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and then Chiang Rai, Laos and southern China,” he said.
By The Nationon Sunday
Published on May 29, 2011