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Top monk tells temples to work with locals, govt on ALRO land

Nov 18. 2018
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By The Nation

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THE SUPREME patriarch has recommended that Buddhist parks or monastery woodlands go fenceless and welcomes joint management through engaging with locals and government agencies.

The recommendation is given for temples and Buddhist sanctuaries that seek permission to use land plots under the jurisdiction of the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO).

At present, more than 100 temples or Buddhist sanctuaries are each using more than 15 rai (2.4 hectares) of ALRO land, with some using more than 100 rai. 

ALRO had sought the advice of His Holiness Somdet Phra Ariyavongsagatanana, the Supreme Patriarch in regard to land use and related permission. 

“For Buddhist zones, His Holiness suggests that they be jointly managed and maintained by temples, locals and government agencies,” ALRO secretary Vinaroj Supsongsuk revealed recently. “There is no need to erect fences. Each temple or monastery should need no more than 1,000 rai for such zones, too.” 

As for monks’ living quarters, fences could be erected but each monastery should not need more than 100 rai for such zone, he added. 

Although ALRO is in charge of improving farmers’ access to the right to hold land, it has also granted permission for temples to use its land. 

Today, about 2.8 farming families are working on 40 million rai of ALRO land plots across the country. 

“We now have plans to set up mobile units to deliver services to farmers in remote areas,” Vinaroj said. 

According to him, the mobile-unit initiative aims to make sure farmers can access ALRO services. He expects mobile units to start operations from next month onward.

“We may send mobile units to each area once a week,” he said.

He added that his agency had also worked closely with relevant authorities in developing land, water sources, occupational opportunities and income sources for farmers within ALRO land plots. 

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