BANGKOK, Jan 2 – The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) on Monday returned management of the world renowned Chatuchak Weekend Market to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) after its commercial lease expired on Jan 1.
Speaking to media after a three-hour meeting with BMA senior officials, Prasert Attanant, SRT deputy governor who also heads an SRT preparatory group on market management, said the meeting resolved that the railways would operate the market from Jan 2 onward.
They agreed to set up a joint working group comprising SRT and BMA representatives to discuss how to manage or utilise BMA-owned assets and said that further discussion is needed for a conclusion.
The SRT deputy governor assured the vendors that the market takeover would definitely not adversely affect them.
There will be business as usual over the upcoming weekend since SRT earlier offered to waive their rental fees for two months, he said.
Regarding public utility fees, the joint working group will sort out the matter before the weekend to spare the vendors’ difficulties. Security operations will be outsourced to a private company, the SRT executive said.
Although some vendors acknowledged that the SRT has the right to manage its own property, they questioned the continuity and the railway agency’s readiness to operate the 27-acre market which attracts as many as 200,000 visitors daily on weekends with 30 per cent of them being foreigners.
Last week’s cabinet resolution acknowledged that the SRT has management rights to Chatuchak weekend market after the expiry of its lease with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.