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Koh Panyee residents vote not to pay ‘river encroachment’ fee

Sep 12. 2019
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By The Nation

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The residents of Koh Panyee in Phang Nga’s Muang district voted on Thursday to refuse to pay fees to the Harbour Department for building houses and shops encroaching on a river on the island, a popular tourist destination. 

Some 100 residents attended a meeting called by Muhammad Prasarnphan, kamnan of Tambon Koh Panyee at the tambon’s public hall, and reached a resolution not to comply with the department’s order.

The kamnan held the meeting after the department sent a letter with a list of the 370 residents to the tambon administrative organization, demanding it collect an annual fee worth in total Bt1.4 million from the “encroachers”.

The meeting resolved that the Koh Panyee residents disagreed with the directive of the department on grounds that the community on the island had existed for more than 300 years and long before the marine navigation law, which the department invoked to demand the encroachment fee, took effect.

The residents said they were already facing difficulties in having to pay higher power and water bills than those on the mainland so the law and the directive would add to their hardship.

Nachapong Pranit, director of the Phang Nga Harbour Office, said the marine navigation law requires that those allowed to use buildings that encroach on navigational waterways pay a fee of Bt5 per square metre for residences and Bt100 per square metres from restaurants or commercial buildings.

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