Fri, Sep 24, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Flood funding use questioned

SPARE PARTSPolice and local mechanics warned motorists with popular models to be vigilant as demand for parts has rocketed in the wake of Typhoon Fanapi

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday that the government will not use its flood control budget to build office buildings, denying a media report suggesting that a government agency might use part of the budget for this purpose.

The China Times reported yesterday that the Water Resource Agency (WRA) proposed a special budget of NT$150 million (US$4.69 million) to build a regional flood control operation center after its previously budgeted NT$290 million for setting up a water information center was rejected by legislators.

According to the report, legislators rejected the agency’s plan on the grounds that the special budget for flood control should not be diverted for other purposes such as building new offices.

Wu said this issue should be reviewed objectively and said the government will never allow the WRA to spend such funds on establishing new office buildings or any form of entertainment center.

However, if the budget is used to set up a water information center that will be able to assist the government by quickly collecting and analyzing water information for use when making flood control decisions, “then we shall not rule out the possibility,” Wu said.

WRA Director-General Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said it is absolutely vital to establish a flood control operations center, even though it is not strictly speaking a direct part of flood-prevention measures.

He said the proposed center would be able to collect information and dispatch equipment such as water pumps in the event of emergencies.

Yang added that the newspaper report was factually incorrect because the special budget for setting up a water information center was approved after the budgeted NT$290 million was cut back to NT$260 million.

In other news, police and local car mechanics warned car owners of the need to be particularly vigilant in the wake of Typhoon Fanapi, as the increased demand for spare parts for water-damaged vehicles could easily lead to a jump in car thefts.

“If your car is a popular model, you will need to stay alert because your car may become a priority target for thieves,” said Lee Wen-chang (李文章), deputy chief for Taipei City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Corps.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JIMMY CHUANG

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