By THE SUNDAY NATION
Bangkok, Thailand, August 21, 2017
The government has its eyes set on developing the Northeast to become the “Mekong economic hub”, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday, ahead of a mobile Cabinet meeting to be held in the region.
He said his government aims to develop the Northeast to become the economic hub of the Greater Mekong Sub-region by solving existing problems and developing new projects, the National News Bureau of Thailand reported. Greater Mekong Sub-region consists of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China’s Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang provinces. The Cabinet is scheduled to convene its mobile meeting tomorrow and on Tuesday in Nakhon Ratchasima, which is seen as a regional gateway and the centre of the Lower Northeast, Government Spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said.
The meeting would focus on projects like integrated water management, support of economic activities and agriculture, improving the quality of life of the locals, increasing organic farming and processing, developing eco-tourism, and expanding the One Tambon, One Product (OTOP) entrepreneurial scheme. Nakhon Ratchasima, in particular, would be chosen for future development to make it a hub of both industry and agriculture, the spokesman said.
A high-speed train would connect the city to Bangkok as well as to the Eastern Economic Corridor, a grand development project of the government in the East, he said. Sansern, who is also the Public Relations Department director general, has been in the spotlight in the past few days after he outlined a plan asking for “cooperation” from the media to report on the Cabinet trip. Some members of the media viewed this as “regulating and interfering” with their public responsibilities. Samsern asked them to produce scoops on ministers and provide recordings to the PRD-affiliated National Broadcasting Services of Thailand. Some media outlets withdrew from the plan.