NAI YANG: Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura is angry that almost half of a 15-million-baht government budget to beautify Nai Yang Beach has already been wasted – and that bickering between the two government agencies involved now puts the rest of the money at risk.
At a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday, Gov Udomsak ordered the Tambon Sakoo Administration Organization (OrBorTor Sakoo) and Sirinath National Park to settle a dispute over encroachment on park land at Nai Yang Beach by year’s end, otherwise some 8.4 million baht left in state funding would have to be returned to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
At the meeting, OrBorTor Sakoo President Surapong Panyawai and Sirinath Marine National Park Chief Thanapong Aphaisorn presented their cases before the Governor, but neither side offered a solution.
In December last year, the park arranged for OrBorTor Sakoo to begin construction of 30 single-story shophouses under a budget of 15 million baht granted to the park by the TAT.
The park halted construction in August, however, pointing out that permission had only been verbal and that the structures, by then 60% complete, did not follow the originally specified design.
On August 16, Gov Udomsak visited the site and ordered the buildings torn down, agreeing with the park authorities that they were an eyesore blocking sea views from the road.
More than six million baht of the total 15-million-baht budget was spent in building the structures – and then having to demolish them.
In August, the Governor ordered the two sides to find a compromise under which the remaining 8.4 million baht of the TAT budget could be used to build 30 new units at a more appropriate site, also on park land.
Since then, the encroachers have continued to peddle their wares from illegal stalls along the beach – and the park has still not granted approval for construction at the new site.
At the meeting, the Governor grew angry when it became apparent that the two sides had been unable to negotiate an agreement.
“If there is no movement, I’ll just return the 8.4 million baht when the deadline for it to be spent is reached on December 31 – and then I’ll never have to deal with this issue at a meeting again,” he said.
He also had harsh words for the Park Chief, saying he did not understand why the park hadn’t granted permission to build at the new site.
“I don’t think six rai is too much to ask for, to solve this encroachment problem… if you weren’t prepared to part with a little land, then why did you request the budget from the TAT in the first place?” he asked.
The park has a total area of 56,250 rai, and its facilities include 10 public restrooms.
The Governor also said that he had seen some new public toilets that had been built deep inside the park. “Who gave approval to build these?” he asked angrily.
When Park Chief Thanapong replied that they had been built under a budget provided by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor), Gov Udomsak replied that he would not authorize the construction of any more restrooms inside the park, as they were too remote to be of use to the public.
He also demanded a written request seeking his approval for any future construction work inside the park.
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