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Environmentalists urge amendment of Phuket development plan

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Environmentalists urge amendment of Phuket development plan | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A written appeal to amend Phuket’s General Development Plan was submitted by local environmental and community groups last week.

Addressed to Gov Wichai Phraisa-ngob, the letter was received by Vice Governor Teerayut Eimtrakul who commented that a committee would be arranged to consider issues raised in the document before passing on any suggested amendments to the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning (DPT).

The various groups were led by veteran environmental activist Tanu Nabnian. Targets of their suggested amendments are the Phuket General Plan of 2005 as well as a new draft plan not yet approved.

“The DPT in conjunction with their Phuket office are amending the Phuket General Development Plan of 2005 and drafting ministerial regulations for a new plan, details of which are currently under consideration by the Office of Royal Decrees.

“Local groups affected by the plans, under the aegis of the Phuket Coastal Community Organization Network, are exercising our right to petition for amendment, under the relevant laws and the 2007 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, sections 66 and 67, and the National Health Act of 2007, section 11,” said Mr Tanu.

“To develop the suggested amendments the group worked with relevant government agencies, technical institutions, private groups, private development organizations and individual members of our network. The proposed amendments are aimed at fostering balanced, sustainable development and bringing about the utmost benefit to society and the general public,” he added.

Amendment of the 2005 Plan and of the draft plan will also solve problems related to environmental quality, protecting and conserving natural resources, and protecting valuable, beautiful traditions and local culture, Mr Tanu said.

Impetus for the suggested amendments came from review of the draft plan, in which all areas of Phuket with some density of inhabitants were zoned in colors indicating they were all open for continued residential development, he explained.

Most areas were shaded yellow, indicating low-density residential zones.

“But the character of communities differs in the various areas. Cities, especially, differ from communities outside city limits, and that results in planning at odds with the facts,” he said.

Citing as evidence of such, Mr Tanu mentioned “areas slated for single family residences located inside forest conservation areas and exceptions that allowed for apartment blocks in delimited coastal areas.”

“No sorting out has been done of where development might be appropriate, with the result that it will occur in conservation areas around the island. That conflicts with restrictions aimed at preserving forests, water-courses, aquifers and the environment,” he said.

Another area of concern involved places designated for tourism, recreation and marina development.

“Plans should discriminate between areas appropriate or inappropriate for such developments and clearly specify the kinds of developments allowed. Uncontrolled tourism in every locale makes preservation of the environment and fisheries difficult,” he said.

V/Gov Teerayut said a committee including members from the Provincial Office, the Provincial Public Works and Planning Office, and representatives from the Phuket Coastal Community Organization Network will consider proposals to amend the draft plan. Proposals accepted by the committee will then be passed on by the Provincial Office for consideration by the DPT Planning Commission.

The Phuket Coastal Community Organization Network includes representatives from the Mai Khao Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Group, the Phuket Provincial Resource Conservation Group, the Pa Khlok Community Support Youth Group, the Phuket Community Development Association, the Phuket People’s Institute, and the Andaman Natural Resources Revival Co-Operation Organization.

Groups supporting the petition “are all grassroots community groups involved in conservation of coastal resources, protecting forest and other public lands from encroachment, problem-solving and reducing social tensions at the local level, and grassroots economic development,” Mr Tanu said.

— Public Relations Department

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor



Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth



Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation



Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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