Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reaffirms his
government's plan to connect Thailand's railway system to its neighbors in the
Mekong River basin.
Abhisit said, under the plan, the railway in northern
Thailand will be linked to China's southwestern province of Yunnan via northern
Laos while the northeastern part of Thailand will be connected to the Lao capital
city of Vientiane, the central part of Laos and central Vietnam.
"Moreover, the railway in the northeastern province of Ubon
Ratchathani will be connected to the southern part of Laos and northern part of
Cambodia," said the Thai Prime Minister.
However, Prime Minister Abhisit cannot yet specify the time frame
of construction works but suggests that, with close cooperation and support
from international organizations like the Asian Development Bank, the World
Bank and developed countries as Japan, EU, USA and China, it is believed the
plan could be implemented in the near future.
Thailand has recently completed a railway link across the Mekong
Bridge from Nongkhai province to Tha Nalaeng in Vientiane, Laos, to facilitate
the transport of passengers and goods between the two countries. The 3.5
kilometer-long segment of the railway in Laos was funded by the Thai government
at a cost of 197 million Bahts, 30 per cent of which is grant while the rest is
long- term loan.
The Thai government also plans to contribute some 500
million Bahts to the construction of another 9 kilometer-long segment of the railway
extending from Tha Nalaeng into Vientiane's Xaythany district. A feasibility study
and design conducted by the French Agency for Development is expected to be finished
by the end of this year.
Songrit Pongern reported in Lao on 8/22/09 and summarized in English.