Connect with us


Road to encroachment divides Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette



MAI KHAO, PHUKET: Villagers and local officials are at odds over whether a new road in Mai Khao caused the destruction of 25 rai of peat swamp forest – or stopped the encroachment from being much worse.

Mai Khao Tambon Administration Organization built the 28-million-baht road, which is 3.5 kilometers long and skirts the boundary of Jik Forest.

Mai Khao TAO President Sarawut Srisakhukham said the road was built for two reasons: “to serve the convenience of both tourists and local villagers, and to protect the forest from encroachment by investors.”

Nevertheless, he admitted the forest had shrunk from 102 rai to 77 rai since the road was built.

The road served as a boundary, protecting what remained of the peat swamp forest, he maintained.

“Private land and the forest are clearly separated by the road,” he said. “If we didn’t build it, I’m sure all the forest would be gone.”

But villagers complained that the road had actually caused the destruction of a large portion of the forest because new developments have sprung up along it.

Responding to their concerns, Phuket MP Chalermlak Kebsup asked the Natural Resources and Environment Committee of the House of Representatives to launch an investigation into the project.

Committee President Waruj Siriwat, Vice President Narit Khamnurak, Mr Chalermlak and Phuket Vice Governor Smith Palawatwichai visited the site on Thursday.

Mr Waruj confirmed that encroachment had occurred.

“Villagers are afraid the road has damaged the forest and that it will bring more property construction into the area,” he said.

“We have to check whether there was a public hearing and environmental impact assessment before the construction started,” he said, adding that the committee would have the answers by its next meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Waruj noted that the peat swamp and mangrove forests in the northwest of Phuket had been nominated by Thailand as a Ramsar Convention site, meaning they were of international importance and should be protected.

The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty aimed at conserving the world’s wetlands to which Thailand is a signatory.

“In the future, these forests will become very important tourist attractions,” Mr Waruj said.

“I told President Sarawut I hoped this forest would be the last site to be encroached upon because it takes about 100 years to recover from the loss of biological variety,” he said.

His committee was determined to put an end to forest encroachment, he said.

When interviewed by the Gazette, Mr Sarawut was quick to defend the Jik Forest road project.

“I’ve confirmed that this project has been very useful to people coming to the beach, fishermen looking for fish and crabs, as well as investors,” he said.

After the committee finished its survey of Jik Forest, members went on to view an 8-rai plot of mangrove forest in Muang Mai, Village 5, tambon Thepkrasattri, part of which had also been destroyed.

A wide area of forest and a former canal had been filled with soil, while a pile of tires was set nearby in preparation to burn the trees.

Coconut trees were ready to plant in the plot as a sign of ownership.

The land belonged to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Mr Waruj said.

“We don’t understand why Phuket’s executives let these problems happen,” he said. “I told Vice Governor Smith [Palawatwichai] to focus on stopping encroachment and punish those responsible,” he said.

Villagers said the soil, tires and coconut trees had been brought to the site at night.

“We heard the truck running from the main road, but nobody dared check who was actually doing this…Many calls were made to the police, but there was no response,” one villager told the Gazette.

“We feel very upset because we love this land and plant more trees every year on Mother’s and Father’s Day… But now there’s no fish left in the canal for us.”

— Gazette Reporters


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Hot News9 hours ago

Thai Twitter goes crazy as Russell Crowe tweets Sandbox visit

Crime12 hours ago

Transgender woman arrested for selling live sex show on LINE

Crime13 hours ago

Thai woman charged with trafficking women to Bahrain for sex

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand News Today13 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Arrival quarantine waived for 5 countries, The new Thailand pass | Oct. 15

Crime13 hours ago

Chon Buri Police arrest 30 people in luxury resort gambling raid

Guides14 hours ago

5 Thai cooking classes in Phuket

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Politics15 hours ago

Bill Clinton hospitalised with blood infection

Guides15 hours ago

Thailand’s most magical festival: Yi Peng

Guides15 hours ago

The most popular Northern Thai dishes

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Covid-19 Friday Update: 10,486 cases, 94 deaths, provincial data

Weather16 hours ago

20 major dams and reservoirs in Thailand present overflow risk

Thailand16 hours ago

Ridiculous COE, Long Airport Queue, Thai Hogans Heroes | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 39

Northern Thailand16 hours ago

PM Prayut visits Ubon Ratchathani province to see floods, dam

Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

Thailand plans huge reopening event with matching price tag

Coronavirus World18 hours ago

Singapore allows vaccinated travellers from 8 countries to enter starting Tuesday

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11