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Phuket

Red-tape nightmare for parks entry

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Red-tape nightmare for parks entry | The Thaiger

PHUKET: It’s official: the postponement of the fee hike for foreigners visiting national parks in Thailand has been canceled. Thais will be allowed into the parks at the old price, ranging from as little as 5 baht to 20 baht, whereas foreigners (including foreigners resident in Thailand) will have to pay 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children. As a way to mollify tour and dive operators, a concessionary coupon scheme has been launched to allow the operators to take clients into the parks at the old rate. Discussions held at the Marine National Parks Division offices in Bangkok on Tuesday firmed up plans for the coupon system. The scheme, which threatens to be a bureaucratic nightmare, will work as follows: Coupons will be issued for all of Thailand’s national parks. The price will be 20 baht (10 baht for children) except for the Surin and Similans Marine National Parks, which will be priced at 40 baht (20 baht for children). Operators wishing to buy coupons must submit an application to join the scheme to the Marine National Parks Department of the RFD in Bangkok. The deadline for submission of applications will be the end of office hours on October 19. Upon receiving the application, the Marine National Parks Department (MNPD) will issue the operator with a receipt. As part of the application, operators will have to specify how many coupons they will need for the year up to September 30, 2001. They will not be allowed to buy more coupons later on if business is better than anticipated. If they buy fewer coupons than stated on the application, they risk being blacklisted by the RFD, and may be refused entry to the parks in the 2001-2002 high season. “It will take about a week to approve an application if all the documents are correct,” explained Suwan Prasertphon, senior officer at the MNPD. Once the application is approved, the operator will receive a confirmation fax or letter, following which he should again visit the MNPD, taking with him the fax or letter and the application receipt. He will then be required to fill in a second application form, this time to buy a specific number of coupons. K. Suwan explained that each coupon will be divided into three parts. The first part will be kept on file at the RFD. The tour companies will then have two parts: one as a receipt for the client and one to be handed over to the park officer on entry to the park. “Tour operators must provide us with a copy of the company chop to stamp the back of all three parts of the coupons in order to identify which companies bought them,” K. Suwan added. After a couple of days, once the civil servants have finished chopping the backs of the coupons, the operator may go back to the MNPD office for a third time to collect his coupons. The procedure must be repeated whenever the operator wishes to buy more coupons. Operators will not be obliged to buy the whole year’s allotment of coupons at once; they may spread purchases through the year. The coupons will be in books of 100. Each purchase will require the operator to fill in an application form, then return after a couple of days to pick up the coupons, duly chopped. “A company must buy [in the course of the year] exactly the same number of coupons as specified in the initial application form. Failing that, they will be recorded in a list of unreliable operators who may be denied entry to the parks next high season,” said K. Suwan. The chief of the Similan Islands Marine National Park, Wittaya Hongwiangchan, told the Gazette that each coupon will be valid for five nights/six days per entry, and will be good for one entry only. “So, in case of dive operators, if they want to visit the Similans for a couple of days, then go to the Surins, and then back to the Similans again, they will have to use three entry coupons per client,” he explained. Exceptions in the case of difficulties caused by bad weather will be considered by the chief of the park himself. K. Suwan said that he expects a meeting to be held in Phuket at the end of October between RFD officials – possibly including RFD chief Plodprasop Suraswadi – the Tourism Authority of Thailand and tour and dive operators, at which the details of the scheme will be explained and questions answered. To confirm details of requirements for applications, operators should call K. Suwan at the Marine National Parks Division of the RFD on (02) 5797047.



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Phuket

Phuket faces critical water shortages if the monsoon doesn’t arrive soon

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket faces critical water shortages if the monsoon doesn’t arrive soon | The Thaiger

Phuket is now, officially, experiencing water shortages, with water in the province’s three catchments just enough for the supply of tap water until May and the condition is expected to get worse if the annual monsoon doesn’t kick in soon. The annual south-west monsoon usually starts dragging in moist air and the ‘wet season’ sometime around Songkran each year.

Mr Kraison Mahamad, manager of the Phuket-based provincial waterworks authority (PWA), admits that tap water production would be affected if there is no heavy rain as water in Bang Naeo Dam, Klong Katha and Bang Wad would be enough for use until May at the latest, adding that his office had been told by irrigation officials to limit supply to prolong the supply of tap water to consumers on the tourist island.

As a contingency plan to ease water shortage problems, he said his office had contacted several independent suppliers for water supply, but also suggested that consumers should use water sparingly as well.

Phuket city mayor, Ms Somjai Suwansuppana, says that the municipal has been providing free water to about 18,000 households each day, with 70% of the water accessed locally and the rest bought in from private suppliers.

She said the municipal had contingency plans in place in case there are no rains next month by buying more water from water suppliers to meet consumption needs, adding that there will be sufficient water to meet the need of all the households if they use the water economically.

Ms Somjai says, for long-term measures, the municipal administration is mulling water salination projects or recycling of used water (like Singapore) which may not be acceptable now but may be unavoidable in the future if water shortage problems turns critical due to city expansion and increased population.

Mr Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of Southern Thai Hotels Association, said that hotels are hard hit by the water shortage problem and many of them have resorted to independent suppliers for water supplies to make sure there is water for guests even though the water fee is expensive at between 100-120 baht per cubic metre (The Thaiger has had reports of some people being charged up to 400 baht per cubic metre).

He admits that it is beyond the capability of hotels to secure huge raw water sources for water production, adding that the state should step in for help for sustainable tourism growth in the province.

Over the past months hundreds of residents had taken to social media complaining that their water supply had been randomly cut off or severely reduced, without notice. Some residents have had no water supply for over a month.

The PWA announced odd/even water restrictions on February 2 only to cancel them the following day on the recommendation of the Irrigation Department that there was adequate supplies of water on the island.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Phuket

Soldier attacked and killed by her husband over alleged affair in Rawai

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Soldier attacked and killed by her husband over alleged affair in Rawai | The Thaiger

A female soldier has been attacked and killed by her soldier husband over an alleged sexual affair in Rawai today.

The Chalong Police were notified of the incident at 8.30am this morning at a hotel on Patak Road in Rawai.

Police arrived at the room to find the 39 year old woman, Ratchadaphon Mongkonrung, a Squadron Leader with the Thai air force. She was unconscious when police arrived and rushed to to Vachira Phuket Hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.

A 40 year old man from the air force (Master Sergeant), the husband of the woman, was waiting for police at the scene. He was taken to the Chalong Police Station.

Police say they checked with the hotel and found that they had been arguing as Nop-anan thought that his wife was having an affair with another man. He kicked her with his feet before calling for help.

The were married and had two children. Nop-anan is facing charges of attacking and killing another person.

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Phuket

Phuket’s water supply in a critical situation

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket’s water supply in a critical situation | The Thaiger

Phuket’s water lords are now admitting the island’s water situation is in a critical situation – a situation they have had the power to avert but have chosen instead to ‘hope’ for monsoonal rains and go in search of alternative water sources to top up the dwindling catchment resources.

Phuket is now in the throws of a water shortage. The PWA says the water supply in Bang Ward Dam is only enough for the end of next month if no rain arrives.

The Phuket Water Work Authority manager Kraisorn Mahamat says, “The water in Bang Wad Dam (Kathu) is only enough up to the end of next month if there is no rain, while the other two reservoirs are enough until the rain comes.

Meanwhile some residents around the island have randomly had their water supply wither cut off completely or reduced to an useable trickle. Many are being forced to buy water from private water services. The sight of water trucks driving around the island’s roads has become common over the past month.

Phuket Irrigation says that authorities will now have to decrease the water supplies for residents to ensure that there is enough water until the end of this dry season. The issue of Phuket’s water management has become a hot topic on social media as residents and business question the management of the island’s water resources.

“We are solving the problem by buying water supplies from the private sector. We hope that we can handle the situation during this drought. Residents must help us to save water too.”

“Hope”. Yes, we checked. He said ‘hope’.

The Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansuppana says, “In the future we might have a project that can change sea water into freshwater or change wastewater into clean water if these water shortages continue.”

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