Construction of controversial Tesco continues

THALANG: The ongoing dispute between some Cheng Talay residents and mega-retailer Tesco Lotus is no closer to being solved, as construction continues on the fiercely-opposed Tesco Lotus Express Store in Bang Tao.

At a meeting yesterday between Thalang District chief Chaivat Tapee and representatives from Cherng Talay Municipality, the newly-elected Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) and a group of residents resulted in little progress as it remains unclear whose jurisdiction the area falls under.

“I have examined the maps that define official boundary lines and I am not sure who is responsible for this area. I will now present this matter to Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit to decide if Cherng Talay Municipality or Cherng Talay OrBorTor must deal with the problem,” said K. Chaivat.

Bang Tao resident Samarn Krohlek led the contingent of locals to Thalang District Administration Office to protest against the construction.

Unhappy residents say the Tesco Express shop, the first of its kind on the island, will take business away from local shopkeepers. Its construction is in direct violation of a stoppage order issued by the the former Cherng Talay OrBorTor, they allege.

“This is an illegal construction. I want to know who gave them permission to carry on building,” K. Samarn said.

“I am pleased that both the OrBorTor and Cherng Talay Municipality were represented here today to discuss this matter. The problem we face is finding who is authorized to force them to cease construction,” he added.

K. Chaivat said, “The people in Cherng Talay have asked Tesco Lotus to stop construction, even though the construction has been going on for a long time. People in Cherng Talay will be affected by the new store, but nobody can order the construction to be stopped.”

The same group on September 13 protested on Srisoonthorn Rd, near the project site, with signs reading “Tesco is foreign-owned”, “No Tesco” and “Cherng Talay people don’t want Tesco”. At that time they also distributed copies of the work-stoppage order issued on July 27 and signed by Samart Sagae, then-president of Cherng Talay OrBorTor.

In response to the most recent protest, Martin Clutterbuck of the Tesco Lotus Corporate Affairs Department told the Gazette, “If Tesco has permission to build the new store, then the construction is legal.”

Phuket News

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