EARTH Thailand

Eastern locals stand against NCPO order

Bangkok Post 30 October 2017 | Apinya Wipatayotin

Locals in eastern Thailand are opposing the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)'s order to reorganise city planning in Chachoengsao, Rayong and Chon Buri provinces to bring it in line with the government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) policy.

They said the NCPO order is unfair to locals and the development should be undertaken through local participation.

Gunn Tattiyakul, coordinator of EEC Watch, said local people living in the eastern region are unhappy with the NCPO's order to replace the existing city planning law with a new one designed to support the military-led-government's EEC policy because they fear that change might be carried out without the people's participation.

Mr Gunn added the locals will not stay silent on the case and will be ready to move against the order.

"We will give a statement expressing our stance against the government's EEC policy, which does not take into account the true needs of people living in the eastern region. The policy is not different from the eastern seaboard development that started 40 years ago, and its impacts on the environment have not yet dissipated," he said.

A member of EEC Watch and its alliances will release the statement on Sunday, calling on the government to ensure more local participation in the EEC project, which may have a strong impact on local communities if city planning is changed to primarily serve EEC projects.

They fear the green zone, which is reserved for farming activities, will be used to serve industrial projects under the EEC policy.

Supaporn Malailoy, of EnLAW, said the changes are designed to help along the EEC projects, which focus on heavy industrial investment, rather than the farming sector.

The NCPO announced its order 47/2560 on Oct 25, asking the Department of Public Work and Town & Country Planning to complete the new city plans for land use, infrastructure and public utilities development for the three provinces within one year.

The order added there is no need to take city planning law into consideration. The changes would come into force as soon as the process is complete.

The NCPO argued a special order was necessary as the land use law in the EEC zone has not yet been completed, leading to delays in EEC project development.

It said the EEC project is the crux of the government's plan to drive the country's economic growth forward.