Cabinet gives SRT nod to run Chatuchak weekend market

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BANGKOK, Dec 27 – The Cabinet on Tuesday agreed that the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has the management rights to Chatuchak weekend market once its lease with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration expires on Monday, according to Deputy Transport Minister Chatt Kuldiloke.

The SRT owns 27 acres of land occupied by Chatuchak, and SRT and City Hall have  been wrangling for the ongoing rights to run the market for some time.

Deputy Transport Minister Chatt Kuldiloke said after the weekly cabinet meeting that the SRT’s carry-on rights as landlord was acknowledged. The national railway can reclaim its management rights over Chatuchak after the lease with City Hall expires Jan 2 and the premises must be handed over to the SRT.

The cabinet requires SRT to present a detailed plan for cabinet consideration provided that it will set up a subsidiary to run the market, the minister said.

SRT Governor Yutthana Tapcharoen insisted earlier today that the SRT would run the market through a subsidiary with registered capital of Bt50 million. The SRT also accepted a vendor representatives’ request that they should be given a say in running the market.

Mr Yutthana said the move would help build confidence among vendors regarding SRT’s management.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Sukampol Suwannatat said the BMA has the rights to take the case to the Administrative Court if it deems the decision as being unfair.

Deputy Bangkok Governor Pornthep Techapaiboon declined comment, saying he would like to study details of today’s cabinet resolution first.

Chatuchak Weekend Market is a popular outdoor shopping venue for both Thais and international tourists. Some 12,000 booths offer shoppers bargains galore with a wide variety of goods.

About 200,000 visitors are recorded each day on weekends with 30 per cent of the visitors being foreigners.