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Gov denies bowing to pressure on land title

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Gov denies bowing to pressure on land title | Thaiger

PHUKET: In response to recent intense national media coverage, Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi has emphatically denied employing his powers in unusual ways to effect the upgrading of titles on land owned by Deputy Prime Minister Pitak Intrawitayanunt. Nipat Intarasombat, Democrat MP for Phattalung, raised the controversial issue on Thursday, during last week’s televised censure debate. Since then Governor Pongpayome has come under increasing pressure to explain why K. Pitak’s application to have two plots of land, adjacent to Sirinath National Park, upgraded to Chanote title was approved after earlier being refused, twice. Gov Pongpayome told the Gazette, “I swear on my reputation that none of my superiors put pressure on me or any officers of the Land Office to upgrade the deeds. K. Pitak, in response to the accusation made during the censure debate, said that he had applied for Nor Sor 3 Gor titles for the land before 1981 – when the demarcation of the national park took place – and had received the papers in 1984. He applied to upgrade the land in November 1995. However, Chanote titles were denied because the land was within the national park. On February 16 last year, K. Pitak petitioned for the land titles to be upgraded, but was once again refused, on the grounds that the Department of Lands had already made its decision. However, K. Pitak applied again in July, and Chanote titles for the land were finally approved in August. Gov Pongpayome explained, “In May last year the Phuket Provincial Land Office (PPLO) met with provincial officers to clear its backlog, including the issue of the Deputy PM’s land. “Thalang District officers provided documents dating back to 2000 and said that the case did not involve encroachment on government land. “So the case was handed back to the PPLO, which finally gave its approval,” he said. He added that he himself was not much involved with land encroachment issues because most of the relevant documents were kept at the PPLO, which deals with the issue. “There is some encroachment, but it is a matter for the courts to decide each case,” he said.

 

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