Land grabs and fences bring headaches for Ranong locals

SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2022

Speculators have been snapping up huge tracts of land in three districts of Ranong province along the potential route of the Chumphon-Ranong deep-sea port link and this is causing severe problems for local people, a Ranong resident said on Sunday.

The complaints were echoed by Somchai Hasachak, chief of a self-learning centre and tourism promotion group in Ranong’s Kapoe district.

Somchai said the large-scale buying up of land was causing hardship for locals because the new landowners were putting up fences that blocked entrances to villages and access to natural water resources such as ponds and lakes.

He added that once the government announced it was building a land bridge linking the deep-sea ports in Chumphon and Ranong, speculators have been buying up land from villagers along the expected route through the districts of Suk Samran, Kapoe and Muang.

Somchai said as soon as the investors bought up plots, some as large as 5,000 rai, they walled them off. He said these walls blocked villagers from accessing local water sources as they usually took these routes to go fishing. He added that routes leading to tourist sites were also blocked.

“Local people are now in serious trouble, so I’m sending complaints on their behalf to various government agencies, including village, tambon and district chiefs,” Somchai said.

Earlier, the subcommittee pushing for the implementation of the Southern Economic Corridor said it preferred the 91-kilometre route starting from Riew Cape in Chumphon’s Lang Suan district to Ao Ang Bay in tambon Ratchakrud in Ranong’s Muang district.

The subcommittee has also proposed building a deep-sea port in Ao Ang.