Easterners protest deep seaport expansion


CHONBURI, March 11 – Civic groups in Thailand’s eastern provinces demonstrated near Laem Chabang deep seaport here Sunday to protest against the government’s delayed announcement of a city plan for the region.

The network of the people and civic groups in eight eastern provinces charged the government with dawdling in its enforcement of a combined city plan which covers Chonburi, Rayong, Chachoengsao, Chantaburi, Trat and Sa Kaeo.

They also disapprove of the planned expansion of Laem Chabang deep seaport Phase 3, saying the project will affect fisheries on the Ao Udom, Lam Chabang and Banglamung shorelines.

Problems arising from Phases 1 and 2 of the project have yet to be solved while an expansion of the deep seaport will worsen the situation, they said.

They said they had repeatedly called on the prime minister, interior minister, public works and city planning director general to speed up implementation of the combined city plan, claiming that a delay will lead to misuse of the land.

Rangsan Somboon, leader of a fishing group in Lam Chabang, said a delay in promulgating the combined city plan has led to land speculation and hoarding, adding that the city plan, approved by the City Plan Board on Dec 13 last year, should be implemented as soon as possible.

Somnuk Chongmevasin, an independent academic, said the protesters will intensify their movement if Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan fails to give his clarification on the issue.