Forest project might be legal but is it right?
'People and forests can live in harmony." I believe this saying is true and practical for guarding forests in a long run. Ironically, government officials have recently cited it in their defence of a new housing project for judicial officials that involved massive forest clearance.
Built on Treasury Department land at the foot of Doi Suthep National Park in Chiang Mai at a cost of about one billion baht, the resort-like project is mostly surrounded by a steep green forest. It will host 45 houses, 64 condominium units and offices of the Appeal Court Region 5. Judges and other judicial officials will soon live at one of the most visited mountains in Thailand with the spectacular view of one of the top tourist destinations -- Chiang Mai city.
Since 2014, local people started to wonder what the land clearance on their spiritual mountain was for. When they realised that it was made for the housing project, they were furious, and called for its immediate demolition.
Paritta Wangkiat is a Bangkok Post columnist.