BMA to manage Chatuchak

BMA to manage Chatuchak

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will return to manage the famous Chatuchak Market, according to a decision by the steering committee on national security, poverty reduction and environment chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

The decision made on Wednesday would end an ongoing conflict between vendors and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) over the past few years.

The dispute erupted after the SRT did not renew the BMA's lease on the land. The BMA had managed the market for about three decades.

With the aim of capitalising on the prime space, the SRT upset hundreds of vendors. As the landlord, it increased rental fees and floated ideas to develop the renowned open air market.

The committee on Wednesday decided in favour of the vendors.

The committee also ordered that the new higher rents imposed by the SRT be adjusted to an acceptable level, assistant spokesman for defence Pornchanok Amphan said on Wednesday.

The committee made the decision after about 400 vendors at Chatuchak Market petitioned the government in January to solve the problem.

The group claimed its members have been suffering under SRT management, which began in 2012.

Under the SRT, vendors claimed they were required to pay 2,700 baht a month per square metre in rent compared with an average rental rate offered by landlords in surrounding areas of between only 1,100 baht and 1,400 baht per month.

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