Rafts on standby as province gears for more tourism
KANCHANABURI: Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate has issued an order to keep some rafts on standby in the province's waterways to anticipate the return of visitors after construction of a tourist centre near Ko Rattanakan ends.
Mr Atirat on Saturdayday travelled to Muang district in this western province to follow up on progress of a project to regulate rafts for hospitality and day-to-day living.
The deputy minister said 51 raft owners were asked to remove their rafts encroaching on waterways, adding 31 had their rafts demolished, while 13 are being prosecuted for the offence.
He said the Marine Department, under the Transport Ministry, has worked with the Kanchanaburi administration to find solutions to raft-related problems.
Mr Atirat said the provincial Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning was granted permission to build two mooring facilities for tourists in front of Ko Rattanakan.
He said the department was ordered to dredge water channels in the Khwae Yai River so rafts can park along the river.
The plan would turn Ko Rattanakan into a centre for tourists travelling by water. It is unclear what other hospitality services might be offered from the spot.
There are currently about 80 operators with about 500 rafts providing hospitality services on the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi rivers, the deputy minister said.
He instructed the Kanchanaburi marine office to implement the project with results by early next year, noting that steps taken by the administration should focus on safety and the prevention of noise and waste pollution.