BANGKOK, Thailand -- Foreign visitors to Bangkok have long professed their "amazement" at the capital's intricate web of tangled overhead cables and wires, but the sight-cum-"attraction" which has long dominated the city could be a thing of the past in the coming years.

That is, if the city administrator's effort to remove thousands of kilometres-long of the unsightly cables underground go according to plan and do not suffer the same fate like its previous plan.

"We now have modern technology, so we expect to move all 3,500 km of overhead cables throughout Bangkok into underground in about 10 years, or 200-300 km of cables per-year," said Bangkok Metropolitan Adminstration (BMA) deputy permanent secretary Wanchai Thanomsak to Bernama recently.

Within a short span of time, BMA which is equivalent to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) have already removed some 500km of overhead cables in the city, which consist of mainly low-voltage electricity and telecommunication wires into underground structures, he said,

Five government agencies according to Wanchai, were involved with the project consisting of National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission, BMA, TOT Public Company Limited, CAT Telecom Public Company Limited and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

He explained, efforts to get the overhead cables in Bangkok underground began 10 years ago but a host of problems eventually derailed the project, before it was rekindled recently by the current government under Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-chan.

The issue of tangled overhead cables particularly in Bangkok, received global media exposure last year after Microsoft's Bill Gates posted about the matter on his social media.

His comment on the overhead cables claimed local commentators, had pushed the government into action which reportedly agreed to commit about 51 billion Baht (RM6.3 billion) over a period of 10 years to remove the cables underground.

Asked if moving overhead cables underground was motivated by the objective to improve Thailand's image as a global tourist destination, Wanchai replied that visitors to the country do not focus on the tangled cables but instead savour on its attractions, like the Grand Palace which received 50,000 visitors everyday.

"They (tourists) focus on our civilization, safety, identity, convenience and others," said Wanchai and disclosed that some tourists had expressed their amazement at the city's web of tangled cables and wondered how the authorities managed to keep it working.

"Their feedback shocked us, because they did not criticize us but amazed (at the tangled overhead cables) instead," he said.


By tladmin