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Talks to settle Khlong Hok Wa barrier row

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The Flood Relief Operations Command and City Hall will hold talks with residents from Pathum Thani's Lam Luk Ka district today to solve a dispute over the Khlong Hok Wa flood barrier.

The three-way talks follow the demolition of a 70-metre section of the sandbag wall by angry Lam Luk Ka residents on Thursday in a bid to drain floodwater from their area.

The breach caused floodwater to surge into areas in Bangkok's Sai Mai district.

The incident later turned violent when a small bomb was thrown at a group of Sai Mai residents while they were fixing the damaged sandbag barrier.

Deputy city clerk Sompob Rangabtook will represent the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in the talks with the Lam Luk Ka residents, which is scheduled for around midday at the Big C superstore near Khlong 4 canal today.

Mr Sompob said the BMA has asked the Lam Luk Ka residents to send six representatives to the talks.

To prevent a possible confrontation, other residents from Lam Luk Ka and those from Sai Mai were urged to stay away from where the talks are taking place.

The deputy city clerk said Lam Luk Ka residents had demanded the authorities lower the height of the 6km sandbag barrier to allow more water to flow from Lam Luk Ka towards Bangkok.

"As far as we know, the residents want to see the water levels in both Pathum Thani and Bangkok not exceed more than 40cm," Mr Sompob said.

See also: Nonthaburi residents demand sluice gates be opened

Lam Luk Ka residents also demanded that the Phraya Suren sluice gate be opened wider to speed up water flow from Pathum Thani into Saen Saeb canal.

Mr Sompob said the BMA had already complied with that demand by widening the sluice gate from 40cm to 1 metre.

Water levels in Khlong Saen Saeb and at the Bang Chan intersection were quite high yesterday probably due to the widening of the sluice gate.

Froc deputy spokesman Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen yesterday said police were investigating Thursday's explosion at Khlong Hok Wa.

Pol Gen Pongsapat said witnesses told the police that they saw a man, believed to be a Sai Mai resident, on a motorcycle ride onto the bridge and throw an object into the crowd which resulted in a small explosion. Police hope to identify the man soon, he said.

He said police would summon four people injured in the blast for further questioning and were urging anyone with information to contact police at Sai Mai Police Station.

He said 200 police officers from the Border Patrol Police and Metropolitan Police Division One were sent to the scene to control the situation and to prevent further violence.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok's Min Buri district, Wassana Phongpheng, a spokesperson for Samakkhi Khlong's Song Ton Nun residents, has warned people in her area are becoming increasingly angry at a lack of assistance from authorities.

She said her community is where floodwater from Khlong Sam Wa and Khlong Saen Saeb meets before flowing in Khlong Prawet.

She said around 270 households have had to put up with high floodwater for more than a month.

Authorities need to pay more attention to the plight of people in this area, Ms Wassana said. Residents will have no option but to take action to make their voices heard if authorities ignore them, she warned.

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Guest Friday, 25 April 2014

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