Only half of 1990s land reform land from forest reserves actually got to the poor landless farmers. Buildings of rich developers on this land to be demolished.
Read an editorial on Tuesday that raises important questions about the follow-up actions after the crackdown here.
Read previous articles on land reform including essential vocabulary, recent actions against squatters, first community deeds issued , the endless quest for land justice and flaws in the Sor Por Kor system.
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FOREST ENCROACHMENT: Agency wants land back for reserves by Apinya Wipatayotin and Prasit Tangprasert
The Royal Forest Department (RFD) will ask the Agricultural Land Reform Office to return 150,000 rai of land in Nakhon Ratchasima's Wang Nam Khieo district to the department after failing to allot plots to poor farmers.
RFD director-general Suwit Rattanamanee said the department had alloted more than 300,000 rai of land to the office to issue Sor Por Kor deeds to landless and poor farmers between 1992 and 1995, but only half of the land had been meted out. Some of that land has instead been used by developers to illegally build resorts in the Pa Khao Pu Luang forest reserve in Wang Nam Khieo district and which have been targeted for razing by the department and other authorities.
Mr Suwit announced the move as part of the department's efforts to prevent more resort developers and local villagers from encroaching on public lands. He said the RFD planned to add the returned land to the existing forest reserve.
Since the RFD launched an investigation into alleged encroachment on public lands in Wang Nam Khieo district nearly a month ago, affected villagers and resort operators have asked the department to ease up.
Yesterday about 200 villagers and resort operators that were targetted in the crackdown on resorts allegedly built on protected forest called for a gentle approach to the land dispute. The rally was held at the Wang Nam Khieo market on Ratchasima-Kabin Buri Road.
Rally organisers took turns criticising the harshness of the crackdown, saying locals had been affected because the number of tourists had dwindled and they were critically in need of help from the concerned state agencies.
The demonstrators said Section 30 of the Agricultural Land Reform Act allowed tourism establishments, such as resorts and weekend houses, to legally be built on Sor Por Kor land if approved by the Land Reform Office.
Mr Suwit said even though the RFD had regulations governing forest land rental, it would not apply to land encroachers because the damage had already been done
"If we allow those illegal land encroachers to lease the land, what is the point of enforcing the forest protection law?" he said
Nakhon Ratchasima Governor Rapee Phongbuphakit, meanwhile, defended the crackdown, saying the developers ordered to demolish their buildings had violated the law by encroaching on the forest reserve and using Sor Por Kor land inappropriately.
He said the government would be happy to listen to what affected people had to say but no talks had yet been scheduled and the legal action against the land encroachers would continue. Mr Suwit also insisted land encroachers must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
He said there was no need to compromise with rich developers who had encroached on public land in the Pa Khao Pu Luang forest reserve.
Mr Suwit said that the RFD would take legal action against 22 resort and vacation house owners who had allegedly encroached on the Pa Khao Pu Luang forest reserve, while cases against another 17 outfits were pending.
He said he would ask the court to issue warrants by Aug 13 so that he could lead about 200 state officers, soldiers and police to search resorts that had been built on forest reserve land.
He said the investigations would be completed over the next two months.
After that, the department plans to expand its investigation to other provinces where it has received reports of resorts encroaching on forest reserves, such as Chiang Mai.
Mr Suwit tomorrow plans to hold a meeting with the governor, army, business operators and related agencies in Nakhon Ratchasima province, to clear up any questions on the encroachment sweeps.
(Source: Bangkok Post, FOREST ENCROACHMENT, Agency wants land back for reserves, 3/08/2011, Apinya Wipatayotin and Prasit Tangprasert, link)
land - to get or achieve something good, especially in a way which seems easy or unexpected ได้รับ
reserves - a supply available for future use when needed, keeps something for a particular purpose or time สงวน
allot - to give someone part of an amount of something that is available, or to decide that something will be used for a specific purpose จัดสรรเงินทุน
plots - pieces of land
deeds - a document or paper that shows that you are the legal owner of land
issue - to give or provide something officially แจกจ่าย
issue deeds to poor farmers - give land to poor farmers (with the document to prove it)
meted out - given out to people, distributed
reserve - something currently not being used but that can be used when needed, kept for use for something or by someone ที่จัดสรรไว สำรองไว้
forest reserve - forest land that is not used and kept for the future
raze - the removing of a building or other structure
targeted - chosen; some action aimed at a particular person or group that you oppose ตกเป็นเป้า
targeted for razing - chosen for removal
authorities - government officials; the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
the move - the action
efforts - the work done towards achieving some goal ความพยายาม
resort developers - business people who build a tourism resort on land
launched - started เริ่มต้นดำเนินการ
investigation - the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง การสอบสวน
alleged - claimed but not yet proven ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
encroachment - moving into land that you do not own and using it; gradually covering more and more of an area of land การบุกรุก
encroaching on public lands - moving into and using government owned land
local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
operators - businesses doing this business
ease up - to make action less severe, difficult, unpleasant, painful, etc บรรเทา; ทำให้ง่าย
crackdown - strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
allegedly - claimed but not yet proven ที่กล่าวหา
approach - a way of doing or dealing with something การจัดการกับปัญหา
gentle approach - action taken that is not harsh
dispute - a serious disagreement, fight, argument, conflict การโต้เถียง, ความขัดแย้ง ข้อโต้แย้ง ข้อพิพาท
rally - a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something การชุมนุม
harsh - too much; too severe and cruel
harshness - unpleasant, unkind, cruel or unnecessarily severe behavior ความไม่สุภาพ, ความหยาบคาย
locals - people who live in a particular place ชาวบ้าน
tourists had dwindled - the number of tourists had decreased
critically in need of help - need help to survive
demonstrators - people who march with other people in public to show that they support or oppose something ผู้ชุมนุมประท้วง
regulations - rules made by the government to control how some activity is done กฎระเบียบ
law would not apply to land encroachers - action of land encroachers places them outside of this law (legal loophole)
illegal - against the law ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
lease - a legal agreement in which you pay money in order to use a building, piece of land, vehicle, etc. for a period of time สัญญาเช่า
demolish - to completely destroy a building, especially in order to use the land for something else รื้อ (สิ่งก่อสร้าง), ทำลาย
talks - negotiations, formal discussions of problems between different sides in a conflict in order to solve the problem
scheduled - planned to happen at a particular time or day ตามตารางเวลา
insisted - say firmly that something must happen or is true, and will not change mind
extent - size ขนาด
punished to the fullest extent of the law - get the greatest punishment, penalty or fine that the law says is possible
compromise - give up something to reach an agreement ประนีประนอม when each side in a disagreement demands less in order to reach agreement
encroached - to gradually cover more and more of an area of land บุกรุก, ล่วงล้ำ
outfits - businesses
pending - waiting to be dealt with, settled or completed ยังค้างอยู่, ซึ่งยังไม่จบสิ้น, อยู่ในระหว่าง
officers - high ranking managers in a company or the government
state officers - high ranking managers in the government
search - to look somewhere carefully in order to find something ค้นหา
expand - to become larger ขายตัวออกไป
expand investigation - look at more cases to see if a crime has been committed
meeting - when a group of people come together to discuss issues and make decisions การประชุม
hold a meeting with Y - have a meeting with group Y
clear up - make easy to understand
clear up any questions - answer questions that people have so they can fully understand
sweep - when the police or military search a place looking for illegal activity
encroachment sweeps - going through an area looking for land encroachment
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