Mon, November 29, 2021

in-focus

Phetchabun water park to be probed over allegations of forest encroachment


Natural Resources and Environment Minister General Surasak Karnjanarat has ordered relevant agencies to investigate whether a water park in Phetchabun province is encroaching forestland.

The order came after a Line message, reportedly written by Colonel Pongphetch Ketsupa of Internal Security Operations Command, became viral on Thai social media. In the message, the colonel was complaining about the bureaucratic red tape that hampers moves to crackdown on forest encroachers. 
Pongphetch’s message reportedly read: “I feel disheartened and sad that we cannot protect the watershed forest by the Pasak River… I saw people participating in an opening ceremony [on October 28] for a water park in Phu Khee Kai, which is located on a 1,800-rai forestland in the area overlapping Phetchabun's Lom Kao and Lom Sak districts. [The 1,800-rai space was divided into 58 plots, which were allegedly obtained using illegal land-rights documents in 1999, which was discovered by the authorities in 2014] but the process to revoke such documents was so slow that a large part of the forest was destroyed… Isn’t it time to act now?
“If we are too late, this watershed forest by the Pasak River will be gone. I sincerely beg related agencies to help solve the problem and fight against the gang of forest encroachers. It is already difficult to reclaim forestland, and if we don’t come together to prevent this then I think we might as well just give it up to the investors. When I visited three or four years ago, it was a lush forest, now it looks like this [attached photos showing bare hills in the forest].”

Published : October 30, 2018

By : The Nation