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Phuket villagers plead for new road



PHUKET: Tired of plowing through the mud every time it rains in order to reach their homes, residents at Baan Nai Thon on Phuket’s west coast today filed a complaint at Phuket Provincial Hall to finally get the ball rolling on a road project that has stalled.

About 20 villagers arrived at the Damrongtham Center (provincial Ombudsman’s Office) at about 10am to file a complaint against their local authority, the Sakoo Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor).

The complaint, addressed to Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha, requested provincial officials to investigate why the road has not been built, especially since a sign erected by the Sakoo OrBorTor said that a road, 420 meters long and costing 1.8 million baht, would be built.

The sign says the money to build the road would be derived from the Sakoo OrBorTor‘s approved budgets for Fiscal Year 2012. All budgets for the year were approved in October last year.

But the road has yet to arrive.

Baan Nai Thon resident Wiroj Boonnakaew told Phuket Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosuttirak, who received the complaint on behalf of the Governor, that the village has about 16 houses and that the only way to reach it is by travelling along an unpaved road that connects to the beachfront road at Nai Thon.

“When it rains, no vehicles can get through. Those who drive cars and motorbikes have to park their vehicles outside [the village] and walk home. It is not safe and it is not convenient for any of us,” Mr Wiroj said.

“We explained this to Sakoo OrBorTor many times, but no one has ever come to solve the problem,” he added.

Other villagers explained that children going to school had to take off their shoes and socks, and the boys even had to remove their school trousers, so they could walk through the mud without getting dirty.

“We really need that road,” said Mr Wiroj.

The residents held up photos showing the sign erected by the local OrBorTor, emphasizing that it clearly says that construction of the new road was to start as the result of a public hearing held on June 21 last year.

The concrete road was to be 15 centimeters thick, four meters wide and have drains along both sides to prevent the road from flooding.

However, OrBorTor Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Sumeth Suwannarath told the Phuket Gazette this afternoon that the sign was causing a misunderstanding.

“It shows what we were trying to achieve, not actually what has happened. We applied for the budget of 1.8 million baht to build the road, but the budget has not been approved yet.

“People can still use the road to access the village. But, for now, we can’t do anything to improve the road because we don’t have any budget to spend on it,” he said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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