149 "illegal" resort buildings to be demolished on Mount Mon Jam
The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is investigating encroachment of national forest land on Chiang Mai’s popular tourist attraction of Mount Mon Jam, the assistant to the ministry, Nopphadol Pholsen, said on Sunday (July 12).
Best known for its beautiful mountaintop viewpoint over the Mae Rim Valley and the floral orchard of its Royal Project farms, Mon Jam is about an hour’s drive from central Chiang Mai.
“The Royal Forest Department had reported up to 29 resorts with 149 buildings have encroached on forest land and had filed charges against them at the Chiang Mai provincial court early this year,” he said. “The court then issued demolition orders for the department to carry out. So far we have demolished eight newly constructed buildings about to open for business.”
Meanwhile, Surin Natheepraiwan, village headman of Moo 11, where the encroachment has taken place, said the resort operators who trespassed on forest lands are mostly investors from out of town who bought lands from local owners.
“The land on which they built hotels and resorts was later declared to be a national forest,” he said. “Furthermore, the law allows only local residents to use lands for tourism-related purposes. So these resort and hotel owners are in the wrong, whether their land is in national forest areas or not.”
The department said there are about 80 operators who are under investigation.