Area of controversial housing project in Chiang Mai to be restored

Suwaphan Tanyuwatthana.
Suwaphan Tanyuwatthana.

Bangkok – A government-appointed committee tasked with finding remedies to the Courts of Justice’s controversial housing project in Chiang Mai province has come up with six solutions at its latest meeting.

The meeting on Friday chaired by Prime Minister’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuwatthana reviewed reports from various agencies, opinions and complaints from the public including environmentalists, and academic reports on the environmental impact of the housing project, as well as ministerial rules and regulations. After much deliberation, the committee devised six solutions as follows:

1) No judges or judiciary officers shall take up residence in the 45 detached housing units. Local agencies and the Courts of Justice will be responsible for restoring and rehabilitating the area.

2) Chiang Mai province will work with academics and the civic sector to plant trees around the 45 detached housing units.

3) The Department of Agriculture shall accelerate its process to authorize the use of areas surrounding the Chiang Rai Horticultural Research Center for the construction of housing units for judiciary officers. The Bureau of the Budget shall speed up the disbursement of the budget for the construction.

4) The area where the 45 detached housing units are located shall be returned to the public.

5) The 45 detached housing units can be demolished if needs be.

6) Nine condominium buildings shall remain occupied by current residents under the condition that environmental resources in the area be sustained.

Suwaphan said the six-point approach will be presented to the prime minister.

The controversial housing project is located at the foot of forested Doi Suthep mountain. Those protesting against the project earlier called for the structures to be demolished, citing damage caused to the state and the environment.