BANGKOK, July 26: The Thai government has unveiled a six-year economic development blueprint for the three troubled southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
Government spokesman Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the blueprint will see the development of three major districts in the provinces based on their socio-economic identities.
“The government will develop Nong Chik, Pattani into a model city for advanced mixed agro industry, while Betong in Yala is to be a self-reliant city for sustainable energy.
“Sungai Kolok will become a cross-border trade hub. The three cities will form an economic triangle to stimulate development in the region,” he was quoted by the media yesterday.
The announcement of major economic initiatives in the southern provinces by the government coincided with Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-chan’s visit to Narathiwat yesterday.
According to Sansern, the prime minister will meet local officials in a major drive to boost investments in the three provinces.
“The prime minister is encouraging the use of an economic approach to solving problems and developing the southern border provinces in order to improve the quality of life and create sustainable peace,” he said.
More than 6,000 people have died as a result of years of hostilities and conflict in the three southern provinces.
The six-year plan, said Sansern, will begin next year until 2022 under two three-year phases which will also see the linking of the logistics system in the three provinces with Malaysia and Singapore.
The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre will work with the provinces’ chambers of commerce as well as local businessmen, he said.
— THE SUN