PHUKET: Six communities in Phuket, of 34 others across Thailand, hoping to receive “community” land title deeds have reacted with disappointment after Cabinet’s decision yesterday not to address their concerns.
A Prime Minister’s Office regulation announced last year called for the government to legalize and protect communities who make their living on idle plots of government land.
After a lengthy selection process, 35 communities across Thailand were chosen to receive the “community” Chanote title deeds.
The six chosen communities in Phuket were: Baan Tha Sak in Pa Khlok; Baan Khlong Koh Phi in Wichit; Baan Khlong Pakbang in Patong; Baan Tha Ruea Mai in Rassada; Baan Ao Yon in Wichit; and Baan Sapam in Koh Kaew.
The titles would allow the communities to develop the land for agriculture, but would forbid the communities from selling it.
So far just one community has received a “community Chanote”, and residents of the remaining 34 are becoming skeptical they will ever receive the deeds.
They want the government to speed up issuance of the deeds and to strong-arm uncooperative departments such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
They pinned their hopes on yesterday’s Cabinet meeting to yield some progress, after Sathit Wongnongtoey, the minister responsible for the scheme, promised to present their concerns to the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his ministers.
However, Cabinet yesterday “acknowledged” the issue, but decided to take no action, Phuket Gazette-affiliate Krungthep Thurakij reported.
Prayong Doklamyai, an adviser to the Network for Land Reform in Thailand, a group representing the communities, said he thought Cabinet did not dare make a decision.
Cabinet had acknowledged the problem, but this would have no effects in terms of action, he told reporters outside Government House yesterday.
“When it goes like this, we just have to protest indefinitely,” he said, adding that the group may have to continue their protest until the government agrees to their demands.
— Krungthep Thurakij
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