SRT sets up blockades to push out illegal occupants
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) yesterday blockaded its 35-rai plot in Bangkok's Chatuchak district in its latest attempt to remove illegal occupants from the site, which is part of the Red Line electric rail development plan.
Accompanied by police from Bang Sue police station, the SRT staff moved in with large barriers and blocked the entrance to the site on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road near Mor Chit bus terminal.
According to the SRT, the site was encroached on by vendors and their businesses were hampering the construction of the train maintenance depot for the Red Line electric rail system linking Bang Sue-Rangsit.
SRT acting governor Worawut Mala said yesterday that the agency tried to ask the vendors "nicely" to leave but they did not, so it meant it was time to strictly enforce the law.
However, he said the SRT would give the vendors another seven days to dismantle their structures and remove their belongings.
A sign requesting the return of the site was posted on Sept 2, he added.
"Red Line construction has been delayed because the contractors can't move in and do their work. The SRT is being forced to extend the construction contract so it's time to enforce the law against the illegal occupants," he said.
Mr Worawut denied a claim from one of the plot users that the SRT was allocated a budget of 100 million baht to pay the vendors for the demolition expenses.
He said the occupants encroached on the SRT property and a no-land-use contract had been signed with them, so it was impossible for the SRT to seek funds to pay for compensation.
Chaisit Ngamsap, one of the land users, yesterday claimed he was granted a contract to rehabilitate the 35-rai plot and collect the fees for the SRT. He also produced receipts and documents to substantiate his claim.
He claimed that the SRT had, in fact, been allocated the 100-million-baht budget to pay for the vendors' expenses incurred during the dismantling of the structures, but the SRT never paid them any money.