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Thailand`s Tourism Authority questions high speed rail proposal

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has called into question proposals to build…

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has called into question proposals to build a high speed rail link from Bangkok to this upper southern province of Prachuab Khiri Khan, ironically designed to boost the number of tourists to the province, warning that the project could ruin the local environment.

Mr. Silachai Suharai, Director of the TAT`s 2nd Central Region office, today urged caution over the proposals, which would see the journey time from Bangkok to Prachuab slashed to under an hour.

Calling for more detailed studies, Mr. Silachai said that the construction of the rail link would lead to air pollution and destroy the scenery in a number of local tourist attractions.

While conceding that the project would facilitate tourists, he called for a public hearing to ensure that the private sector proposal justified the huge investment involved.

His words were echoed by Prachuap Khiri Khan Governor Prasong Phitornkitcha, who said that the provincial authorities were now conducting a feasibility study of the project, and that before construction began the views of local people would be taken into account.

The Bt40 billion project will see trains running between Bangkok and Prachuap Khiri Khan at speeds of up to 400 kilometres per hour.

Thert Damri Co. Ltd, the private sector company behind the project, says that it eventually wants to see a high-speed rail link from Bangkok all the way to Singapore.

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