Bangkok governor responds to city plan criticism

Bangkok governor responds to city plan criticism

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said on Monday that comprehensive city planning would not benefit financiers, adding that it can be revised after opposition from civil society networks.

On Sunday, the Thailand Consumers Council (TCC) and related networks held a seminar to oppose the new city planning by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

The TCC's deputy secretary-general, Itthaboon Onwongsa, said the BMA's city planning violates Section 72 (2) of the constitution, which stipulates any town planning should meet the needs of people in the area.

Mr Itthaboon said that the hearing on BMA planning also failed to involve the participation of local residents, as the law requires.

Weeraphan Shinawatra, vice president of the Society for the Conservation of National Treasure and Environment (Sconte), called the new city planning a deprivation of the rights of people in Bangkok. Mr Weeraphan claimed that city zones in the new plans are marked according to commercial interests. He said road expansion will significantly affect many cultural sites, including the Yaowarat area, and people will be forced to relocate.

Mr Chadchart said the BMA will hear people's opinions to revise the project details.

"The BMA has performed its duty according to procedures, particularly public hearings," he said. "It will take two years for the new planning to be implemented. So to start drafting a new city plan all over again requires a good enough reason as it will take another four to five years to finish."

Mr Chadchart said the BMA has no land expropriation plans due to an insufficient budget. The markings are for construction that will be built in the future.

The BMA has also instructed district offices across the capital to disseminate information and create an understanding of the project, he said.

Aside from the land expropriation issue, some people are also concerned that the increase in land value may lead to economic stagnation.

"City planning is not mine; it belongs to everyone. I am never obliged to protect the benefits of any financiers. I am delighted to hear opinions from the public," he said.

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