VOL.VII NO.9 - 26 February 1999
Leam Chabang residents turn down latest government offer
Compensation package not enough to move
Tung Sukhla residents in Laem Chabang, being cajoled by the Port Authority to move off their land to make way for a commercial pier, have turned down the authoritys latest offer and have steadfastly refused to leave.
Residents stated they are not interested in the compensation money offered by the government for their land.
The landowners in Laem Chabang were offered an additional 150 million baht and 1,000,000 baht each in compensation, over 15 times the amount of the original offer, but the landholders are uninterested.
The Port of Laem Chabang in Sriracha Province wants to appropriate land in Tung Sukhla for use as a commercial international pier. But problems were encountered when the people refused to budge from their land. Eighty-five landholders are involved.
The Port Authority of Thailand deposited 9,000,000 baht compensation money at the Government Bank in 1988. But none of the landowners were interested in the money.
The Government took the case to the prosecutor of the Supreme Court and a decision was made that the actions of 1988 were not in total agreement with the law. The land was reappraised and valued at 150 million baht.
Mr. Phiraphon Traiyawatana, Director of Laem Chabang Port, said the problem would be very difficult to solve. The landholders seemed totally uninterested in the compensation money.
The Port will attempt to induce the landholders to accept the money in October of 1999. There is also a legal problem, as the law states if compensation money for land is not signed for within 120 days, the matter must be taken to court. The problem already exists that the landholders have not accepted the money offered in 1988. The law states that if a period of 10 years passes, compensation money reverts to the government. The new appraisal of the land solved this problem for the time being.
The people show no signs of moving. They have lived on this land for generations. Representatives of the landholders have said that if they felt the government was truly doing this in a transparent manner for the good of the country, they would not object to moving.
The people feel that there is more than meets the eye to the project and do not trust the project supervisors. They will stay where they are.
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Andy Gombaz, assisted by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek