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Forestry officials face probe over land deeds



Forestry officials face probe over land deeds | Thaiger


– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Forestry officials face probe
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Royal Forest Department has launched an investigation against its own officials in Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchabun and Rayong provinces over alleged forest encroachment.

“The investigation must be completed within 45 days,” RFD director-general Theerapat PraYunrasiddhi said yesterday, adding that provincial forest chiefs were leading the fact-finding panels themselves.

“We need to find out how some individuals or legal entities have acquired land-rights documents for plots that are clearly forest reserves,” Mr Theerapat said.

Relevant authorities are now looking into many alleged encroachment cases in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Mr Theerapat said Bonanza International Speedway, which is allegedly encroaching on forest reserves in Pak Chong district, has to stop all activities in forest areas.

“We have now clearly demarcated the forest zones,” he said, adding that the facilities beyond the forest zone could still be used for now.

Available evidence suggests that Bonanza International Speedway might have expanded its facilities beyond its own land.

Meanwhile, Justice Ministry deputy permanent secretary Dusadee Arawuit disclosed that an investigation suggested that some parts of the luxury Kirimaya Resort nearby sat on agricultural-reform land.

“We expect to get clear-cut information from documents that are part of the evidence next week,” he said. Kirimaya Resort is a well-known hotel in Pak Chong district.

Mr Dusadee said that while Kirimaya Resort held some land-rights documents, they did not cover the entire area.

Meanwhile, an informed source claimed famous TV host Sorrayut Suthassanachinda could face an investigation over whether he had modified a public waterway without authorization.

The source said his title deeds specified that his land in Nakhon Ratchasima sat next to a public waterway, but current conditions show this waterway has allegedly been modified to become a personal dyke.

In a related development, RFD will call a meeting of forest-reserve chiefs next Thursday to step up measures against forest encroachment and push ahead with the policy to seize rubber plantations found in forest reserves.

Mr Theerapat said rubber plantations reportedly covered about 4 million rai (640,000 hectares) of forest zones.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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