Thamanat outlines need for 'One Map' in Senate
Absence of standard map causing land conflicts
published : 2 Dec 2019 at 18:15
writer: Post Reporters
The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is moving to standardise the maps used by state agencies as a part of the "One Map" project, which is hoped to help authorities to better deal with illegal ownership of Sor Por Kor land-reform plots.
Deputy Agricultural and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow said that he believes that the move — initiated by the National Resources and Environment Ministry — will help the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) to manage the 40-million-plus rai of Sor Por Kor land and settle conflicts between individuals and the state over the right to use certain plots.
"We have too many maps," Capt Thamanat told the Senate on Monday.
"The problem is, we don't know which maps to use, and how to use them correctly to demarcate areas."
The government launched the Sor Por Kor land-reform programme in 1975, with the aim of allocating plots — which are mainly located on degraded forests — to landless farmers so they can stand on their own feet.
So far, officials have distributed 36 out of the 40 million rai land-reform plots to the poor. However, many plots ended up in private hands, as many recipients have chosen to defy the law by selling their lands to corporations.
The remaining four million rai of land-reform plots are also plagued with problems, according to an informed source within Alro.
"The absence of a standardised map means some plots were claimed by multiple agencies, who used their own respective maps as reference," the source said.
"Some agencies have even built utilities and/or public amenities on such plots, putting them in direct conflict with Alro."
Capt Thamanat said that the prime minister have been made aware of the issue. "Officers have been assigned to study and identify problems in the One Map project," he said.
The push for a single map is a part of the deputy minister's plan to solve Sor Por Kor land-related issues, which he detailed in front of the Senate following a question from Sen Wanchai Sornsiri about the ongoing attempts to solve land-reform plots ownership issues.
Capt Thamanat also said that he plans to "seize land back" after his latest survey found that many Sor Por Kor plots ended up in the hands of businessmen, community leaders and politicians.
"The problem is especially bad in Krabi," he said.