Government Says Scar of Doi Suthep Must be Returned to Forest

 | Mon 7 May 2018 04:20 ICT

CityNews – In a decision the surprised all parties involved, the Government has announced that the land that is home to the judicial houses on Doi Suthep, dubbed ‘the scar of Doi Suthep’, must be returned to the forest as soon as possible.

On May 6th, a meeting was held at City Hall to discuss the issue with a minister from the Office of the Prime Minister, Suwapan Tanyauwattana. Over 50 representatives from the campaign against the case participated, however there was no representatives from Court of Appeal Region 5 after another no-show.

Suwapan explained to those who attended the meeting that the Prime Minister had spoken his mind on the matter and ordered that no one will be allowed to live in the disputed area, authorities must execute a land survey to separate the area from the judicial offices and that authorities will restore the land to forest land.

The disputed area spans 41 rai of land and contains 45 houses built by the courthouse to house it’s more senior staff and their families. The land will now be re-zoned and returned to it’s original owner, Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. The Forestry Office or National Part Office will be in charge of reforestation.

The court will remain the owners of a small plot of land that is within their boundaries, consisting of two office buildings and three flats.

However, the buildings themselves will remain built on the land due to legal conflicts that prevent them from being demolished. The construction company has been told to finish construction as soon as possible, allowing the Government to honour the building contract, so that the contractor is not affected by the decision. The anti-judicial housing campaign coordinator, Teerasak Lubsuwan, stated that if the forest is returned, the housing will eventually disappear.

A committee will be set up to work on the case. In the short term, trees will be planted as soon as possible and in the long term, a full environmental impact and resource management study will be conducted. Citizens will also be asked to help restore the land.

Teerasak expressed his gratitude towards the Prime Minister, and thanked the Chiang Mai people for being so involved in the cause. He reiterated that there was no political agenda behind the campaign but said that he will remain dedicated to restoring Doi Suthep and monitoring the reforestation case closely.