IEAT sets up relief funds to help fishermen

IEAT sets up relief funds to help fishermen

The project will be carried out under strict environmental standards, says Mr Veeris.
The project will be carried out under strict environmental standards, says Mr Veeris.

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has set up two relief funds in a bid to calm fishermen demanding compensation for the environmental impact caused by land reclamation under IEAT's third phase of the Map Ta Phut deep-sea port project in Rayong.

The authority also established a tripartite panel, consisting of state officials, scholars and fishermen representatives, to inspect whether the reclamation, which covers around 1,000 rai in the sea, follows guidelines to mitigate environmental impact.

IEAT announced its relief plan after a group of fishermen with 400 boats sent a petition to IEAT officials on April 29 demanding compensation similar to that provided to affected villagers living near the Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Chon Buri, often referred to as the "Laem Chabang model".

The fishermen are worried new construction will create sediment and wastewater, reducing the number of marine species their business relies upon, according to a media report.

The project will be carried out under strict environmental standards, said IEAT governor Veeris Ammarapala.

"Their petition showed the fishermen don't want to protest or hinder land reclamation. Instead, they want the government to take care of their livelihood, which may be affected by the project," he said.

IEAT believes the establishment of two funds should help quell fishermen's worries -- one to compensate for urgent damage and the other to improve the quality of life of villagers.

"The fishermen want us to follow the Laem Chabang model, but using an appropriate context where we may need to consider other ways to help them," said Mr Veeris.

Land reclamation was scheduled to start in April, according to a media report.

The new deep-sea port infrastructure is meant to help transport natural gas and liquid goods, as well as guide future industrial expansion under the Eastern Economic Corridor scheme.

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