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Phuket wet market to open this month

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Although vendors and city officials continue to haggle over costs, the new wet market on Ranong Road will open by the end of the month, Phuket City Municipality says.

Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupapana and city council members met with vendor representatives at Phuket City Hall on Monday.

Provincial Deputy Governor Teerayut Eimtrakul served as chairman of the meeting and many government office chiefs were present as witnesses.

It was the third such meeting aimed at finding a way to get the vendors into the new facility, structural work on which was completed over a year ago.

Mayor Somjai said the market should be open by the end of August as 319 of the 425 vendors with rights to occupy stalls had already signed contracts with the city.

The vendors, who have since June 2008 been working out of a temporary market set up for them free-of-charge by the municipality on Wirat Hongyok Road, made five requests to the city during Monday’s meeting.

First, they asked for a reduction in the 15,000-baht-per-square-meter fee the vendors need to pay for construction of the custom-built stalls they will occupy.

Mayor Somjai said the fee was based upon an agreement made at a public hearing four years ago, when both sides accepted that the city would cover 65% of the total construction costs and the tenants would pay the remainder. This fact and the municipality’s current financial situation made it impossible for the municipality to pay more, she said.

Second, the vendors asked the municipality to lower fees to be paid to the city when transferring stall rental rights. These are currently assessed at a rate of 6,000 baht/sqm in the case of transfer to an unrelated party, and 1,000 baht/sqm in case of transferal to an heir.

Mayor Somjai accepted that the rate was high, but said it was the only way to ensure the market remains in the hands of Phuket Town residents.

The third request by the vendors was to extend the contract rental period from 20 to 30 years.

To this, Mayor Somjai reminded them that all 425 vendors who traded at the old market had been provided space in the new market, even though they had no formal documents guaranteeing such rights when they were at the old market. The municipality had protected the vendors by not putting the right to operate stalls in the new market up for auction on the open market, she said.

“Twenty years from now, the municipality will be run by a new generation of Phuket people, and I believe these people will renew the contracts when the time comes,” she said.

The fourth request was that the municipality help vendors with bad-credit-history secure loans from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), the only financial institution that accepts stall-rental rights as collateral on loans.

The fifth request was to help fix improperly designed or constructed stalls to better meet vendor’s needs. An example given was that of the stalls built for pork butchers, which currently lack sufficient under-counter storage space and have racks unable to support the weight of the meat that needs to be suspended from them.

On these two points, Mayor Somjai recommended the vendors ask for help from Deputy Mayor Watcharapong Anantrakul, who oversees the financial and construction aspects of the market business.

The vendors were also reminded that the contract for the temporary market on Wirat Hongyok Rd ends tomorrow. However, those that have already signed contracts with the city cannot move in immediately because more time is needed to ensure all utility systems are working properly, Mayor Somjai said.

The cost of the new project has now reached 280 million baht, which includes 186 baht in construction costs and 24 million baht for the temporary market. The municipality also had to repay a bank loan taken out to fund the project.

“The Municipality has a budget of about 75 million baht annually for town development, but we cannot use it all for the market. It must be divided among many necessary projects. Moreover, it is unfair to other city taxpayers if the municipality bears all construction costs when only the vendors stand to benefit directly. Had we done it that way, we would have been obliged to put the stall rental rights up for auction, but we didn’t. I think the 65% / 35% split is reasonable and fair,” she said.

Regardless of this, the vendors’ representatives left the meeting unsatisfied and the same issues will likely be raised again at the next meeting, to take place August 18 at Phuket City Hall.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

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

Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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