Fri, Sep 06, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Parties trade barbs over flooding

SELF-DEFENSE:Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi rebutted accusations by local governments that his knowledge of flood prevention was not up to scratch

By Chris Wang and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters

Hsiao said that, having served as the deputy mayor of Taichung for 11 years, he understands the mindset of local officials very well.

“Most local governments would invest budget for flood-prevention projects in the mountains or in rural areas, because these projects are visible, while underground storm drain systems in urban areas are not, and could upset local people when construction work affects roads,” Hsiao said. “However, invisible infrastructure is important, because it can prevent urban areas from being flooded during heavy rainfall.”

Some local officials have complained that the central government is not giving them enough money for flood prevention, Hsiao said.

“But we only give local governments a budget for fundamental infrastructure and it’s up to the local governments to decide how they use the budget,” he said.

Hsiao said that while he will not interfere with how local governments want to spend the money, he would strongly urge them to spend more on storm drain systems.

According to official figures, while each of the four counties received about NT$1 billion for infrastructure construction last year. Nantou spent NT$2.7 million, Taitung NT$3.5 million, Chiayi NT$4 million, Yunlin NT$5 million and Pingtung NT$9 million building urban storm drainage systems.

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