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Songkhla network wants industrial estate plan scrapped

Songkhla network wants industrial estate plan scrapped

FRIDAY, December 11, 2020

A local network dedicated to saving Jana district in Songkhla province on Thursday urged the government to scrap setting up the Jana Industrial Estate.

“The Jana Industrial Estate is the last project approved without any public hearing by the National Council for Peace and Order [NCPO] before it was disbanded in July 2019,” the statement by the Jana Ruk Thin Network, a non-governmental organisation, said. “However, after former NCPO head General Prayut Chan-o-cha became the prime minister, the project was suspiciously rushed for approval in several steps.

“We suspect that the project’s rushed approval could be the government’s plan to benefit TPI Polene Power Pcl, a private company that has donated several millions of baht to Prayut’s Palang Pracharath Party,” it added.

Managed by TPI Polene and IRPC, Jana Industrial Estate will cover 16,700 rai (2,672 hectares) in three subdistricts of Jana, namely Sakom, Taling Chan and Na Thap. It would be the largest industrial estate project in the South and therefore would have significant impact on surrounding communities, especially in environmental and marine resource aspects, the network argued.

“The network has been urging the government to revise the project and listen to the opinions of local communities who oppose the industrial estate, but the government has instead used the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre to establish supporting groups in the areas thus causing disagreement within local communities,” said the network. “This is no longer acceptable to us, so we are here today to demand the following from General Prayut Chan-o-cha:

“1. The government must stop all operations relating to the establishment of Jana Industrial Estate, including the revision of the city plan to facilitate the project as well as the environmental impact assessment study.

"2. Once the project is stopped, the government must hold a strategic environmental assessment to thoroughly study its impacts and to create an academic database for decision making on the project and other related initiatives in the southern region.

“We do not reject the development of the city, but it must be carried out lawfully with respect to the way of life of people in the area. We hope that the government would listen to us this time, and we would be awaiting the answer from Government House,” it said.