Chiang Mai locals against luxury housing estate project for junta officials

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Chiang Mai locals against luxury housing estate project for junta officials

Post by Nereus » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:05 am

Talk about jobs for the boys! I guess as Thailand is the hub of all things new, this is probably acceptable.
Why should "judicial officials" be provided with housing, or more like what appears to be "mansions", built at tax payers expense?
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Locals reject learning centre call

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... recent_box

Encroachment 'by another name'

Activists have rejected the idea of turning the office and housing project for judicial officials at the foot of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai into learning centres, saying the structures would still be detrimental to the native environment and mountain water flows.

The idea was floated on Tuesday by army chief Chalermchai Sitthisad, who questioned if money would not be wasted if the project's 45 houses at a cost of more than 200 million baht had to be razed.

He said the property should be turned into an area that people in Chiang Mai can benefit from.

Responding to the idea, Teerasak Roopsuwan, coordinator of a network for Doi Suthep reforestation, said Chiang Mai people do not want any buildings or structures in the forest area.

No one would dare to use the facility if it were to serve as a learning centre because a curse has been put on the property, he said.

The project would disturb the local ecosystem and efforts must be made to restore the forest land, the activist said.
In the rainy season, rain would bring mud and soil from the site to Mae Jok reservoir, which would contaminate the water resource and potentially harm Chiang Mai locals, he said.

He noted water flows from the mountains would also change direction.

If people are still allowed to use the property, this is still regarded as deforestation, he said.

Mr Teerasak said that when local people encroach on forest land, their installations are ordered to be demolished right away. He said the practice should also be applied to state agencies that do the same.

If people can capitalise on the land in this way it would negatively affect the environment, wildlife and water flows, he said.

"If the prime minister or his deputies were to come here to survey the area before they make a decision, then they would get a clearer picture of what the forest land is," Mr Teerasak said.

He said his network has been trying to share information with authorities that the houses are located in the forest and that they should not have been built in the area.

According to Mr Teerasak, Third Army Region commander Wichak Siribansop has set up a committee of locals and state officials to survey the project's site and its surrounding areas to come up with a solution.

The solution is required to be forwarded to the commander on April 19.

The committee's members on Wednesday surveyed surrounding areas of the project. The panel is in the process of contacting the Region 5 Court of Appeal Office, which owns the project, to get permission to survey the project's site.

If the request for the inspection is turned down, the team will deploy drones to survey and film the site instead and the information will be used by the committee to draw forest borderlines, Mr Teerasak said.

According to Mr Teerasak, three forest borderlines have been proposed.

Chatchawal Tongdeelert, a network member who joined the committee, said the panel would take into account the ecosystem, environment, water flows, forest and slopes as well as economic and cultural impacts as part of a solution.

The Region 5 Court of Appeal Office insisted earlier the project is in compliance with the law.

The site is located on Treasury Department land in tambon Don Kaew and is clearly not part of the national park, the court said.
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Re: Chiang Mai locals against luxury housing estate project for junta officials

Post by Nereus » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:04 pm

Thousands demand demolition of housing in Chiang Mai

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... recent_box

CHIANG MAI: Thousands of people marched along Ratchadamnern Road in Muang district of this northern province on Sunday morning, demanding that housing being built for justice officials of the 5th Regional Appeals Court at Doi Suthep be demolished.

The protesters, wearing green ribbons to signify "people with green hearts", represented 47 different organisations but were united in their determination to see the housing demolished and the forest restored to the construction site in the foothills of Doi Suthep.

From Tha Phae city gate in the heart of Chiang Mai's old city, they marched along Ratchadamnern Road to pay homage to the statue of the Three Kings and prayed that the pristine environment be restored.

The protesters shouted the word "te-kwang", a word in the northern dialect that means "demolition", before dispersing after about two hours. The demonstration remained peaceful.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... recent_box

Majority wants death sentence for judges' housing at Doi Suthep: Poll

A huge majority of people regard the housing project for justice officials of the 5th Regional Appeals Court at the foot of Doi Suthep of Chiang Mai province as inappropriate, saying it is damaging to the forest and the general eco-system, according to the result of an opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on April 21-23 on 1,250 people aged 18 and above of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country.

Asked whether the project is a good idea, a huge majority - 85.20% - said it is inappropriate because it damages forests, nature and the eco-system, adding it is a waste of money which could be used for projects to benefit local people. A minority - 14.56% - disagreed, saying the project has been legally approved and cannot be regarded as forest encroachment, while 0.24% were uncertain or had no comment.

Asked whether they know that the project was legally approved, a majority - 81.12% - said "no"; 18.56% said "yes"; and 0.32% were uncertain or had no comment.

On a proposal that the houses being built under the project be demolished, 53.84% of the respondents agreed, saying this will allow the area to be reforested; 43.68% disagreed, saying that it would be a waste of the money already spent on construction; and 2.48% were uncertain or had no comment.

Asked to recommend ways to address the problem, 37.36% said construction should end, the houses under construction should be demolished and the area reforested; 25.92% said the construction should continue, but the site should be developed for public use; 22.96% suggested that the construction should end and some of the structures already erected but considered harmful to the environment should be demolished; 7.52% said the construction should continue until the project is completed; 2.80% said they want the construction to end and that a settlement should be reached to preempt parties concerned from demanding compensation; 1.20% said the construction should continue, but trees should be planted to transform the development into a resort run by a private entity; and 2.24% were uncertain or had no comment.
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Re: Chiang Mai locals against luxury housing estate project for junta officials

Post by Nereus » Wed May 02, 2018 12:13 pm

PM names Doi Suthep arbiter

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... ep-arbiter

The government has appointed Prime Minister's Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana to lead a panel to resolve the conflict over the housing project built for judges and judicial officials at the foot of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said negotiations, led by Mr Suwaphan, involving all stakeholders will decide the fate of the billion-baht project, have yielded promising results so far.

The prime minister did not reveal Tuesday with whom Mr Suwaphan has held talks.

On Tuesday, the Facebook page ThaigovSpokesman (Thai Khu Fah) operated by the government, published a post inviting the public to voice their opinions and give suggestions on how the dispute should be dealt with.

In 16 hours, the post spawned more than 14,000 responses, with the majority saying that although the construction of the project is not illegal, it is inappropriate and anti-environmental.

However, there was no consensus as to whether the project should be demolished or repurposed, with opinions split down the middle.

However, there was no consensus as to whether the project should be demolished or repurposed, with opinions split down the middle.

"The government cares about the feelings of Chiang Mai residents, but to solve the problem, reason must also be applied," said the prime minister.

He also made further comments on how best to deal with the issue after 5,000 Chiang Mai residents on Sunday marched through the city to demand the demolition of the housing project and the restoration of the forest. They gave the prime minister a one-week ultimatum to resolve the issue.

The rally was the biggest protest against authorities since the 2014 coup.

Gen Prayut, addressing the demands of the protesters, urged the public not to use the term ultimatum, saying the government was doing its best to appease all sides.

The premier stated that although the dispute has worried him, many aspects must be taken into consideration since the issue involves various laws.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon reiterated that the government is working on the issue, and that he believes the result will be agreeable to everyone.
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Re: Chiang Mai locals against luxury housing estate project for junta officials

Post by StevePIraq » Wed May 02, 2018 12:49 pm

A pity the govt don't issue much info in English however I do realize they are talking to Thais and not us as we are not even permanent residents.
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Re: Chiang Mai locals against luxury housing estate project for junta officials

Post by Nereus » Tue May 08, 2018 12:48 pm

Doi Suthep 'ready for reforestation'

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... orestation

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment says it stands ready to regrow forest in the area where the controversial housing project for judicial officials is situated at the foot of Doi Suthep following the government's decision to return the area to the national park.

Minister Surasak Karnjanarat said seedlings have already been prepared for the reforestation which would be done ahead of the coming rainy season.

The seedlings are of trees native to the area, including balau, iron wood, Burmese sal and pradoo, he said, adding 1,600 big trees and 4,000 seedlings have been prepared.

Vetiver grass and other ground-cover plants will be grown in the area while 110 small weirs would be built.

The reforestation will begin on May 27, he said, adding the event would take place two days before the National Tree Day, when people would be urged to grow trees countrywide.

Gen Surasak said the ministry will also ask the cabinet to approve the community forest bill at its mobile meeting in the Northeast on Tuesday.

The legislation would enable the locals to play an active part in taking care of forest land.
People have been waiting for the bill for more than 10 years and the current administration will try to push it through, he noted.

On Sunday, the government agreed that the area where the 45 houses and nine flats are being built under the project will no longer be zoned for residential use.

The plot will be returned to its original owner, the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, said Prime Minister's Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana, who attended Sunday's meeting.

A clear boundary will be drawn separating the plot to be returned to the park from the area allowed to be used for the regional appeal court.

According to the minister, a committee comprising government and local leaders will be formed to decide what to do with the houses and flats.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai deputy governor Puttipong Sirima held a meeting Monday with government representatives and the project opponents.

The participants agreed to set up two committees -- one responsible for reforestation and another for dealing with building structures in the area.

After the project's construction contractor completes its work in June, the area would be handed to the Treasury Department the following month.

The land would then be handed over to the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP), a source said.
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Re: Chiang Mai locals against luxury housing estate project for junta officials

Post by PeteC » Tue May 08, 2018 1:14 pm

If the houses stay it will become a tourist attraction in it's own right in several years as the tree roots swallow the structures. "Angkor West" :shock: Pete :cheers:
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Re: Chiang Mai locals against luxury housing estate project for junta officials

Post by Nereus » Thu May 24, 2018 3:53 pm

Judges' housing pull-down hits hitch

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... hits-hitch

Legal hurdles exist which could pose a problem for removing houses in the controversial residential project for judicial officials in Chiang Mai, according to Treasury Department deputy chief Amornrat Klamplob.

She said removing or dismantling accommodation built using state money can only be done if the buildings are decommissioned, have been in use for more than 25 years, or are carried out for the purpose of concealing military secrets.

Ms Amornrat said the housing project at the foot of Doi Suthep does not fall into any of those categories.
Early this month, the government decided the 113-rai area where the 45 houses and nine flats are being built under the project will no longer be zoned for residential use. The land will be returned to the department. The project has provoked resistance from local people and environmental activists who demanded the land be reforested, although the judiciary has insisted it obtained access to the land legally.

Ms Amornrat said the department has named a panel to oversee the transfer of the land back to it. She said questions have remained over what to do with the houses and flats and how the reforestation could proceed. There is no technical or legal problem with reforestation, which can be carried out straight away. However, careful consideration was needed to decide what to do with the houses and the flats already built or half-built.

The legal challenge would be ironed out by a panel set up by the department involving representatives from the Comptroller-General's Department, the Budget Bureau and the Office of the State Audit. Ms Amornrat said the panel may need to look at other avenues under a law that could allow the buildings to be taken down.

Technically, she said the houses and the flats could be uprooted and relocated elsewhere, which would be much more costly than dismantling them.

Earlier, Theerasak Roopsuwan, coordinator of the network for reclaiming the Doi Suthep land, said the network was concerned about a possible delay in returning the housing project land for reforestation.

The network has found some judicial officials and their families had moved in to some of the nine flats. It might not be easy to ask them to leave, he said.

Local activists, meanwhile, have discovered a large pile of rubbish left from the housing construction near the project.
The network members and officials of state agencies are due to meet to follow up on progress.

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