Group slams 'lack of progress' in court housing case

Group slams 'lack of progress' in court housing case

A group of conservationists has renewed their protest against a controversial housing project for judicial officials at the foot of the Doi Suthep mountain in Chiang Mai due to a lack of progress in the case.

The group said buildings should be dismantled and the plot of land should be returned to the Treasury Department.

It threatens to mount a major rally if the matter is still ignored.

Thirasak Rupsuwan, coordinator of a network fighting to reclaim the Doi Suthep forest area, said the group launched a campaign against the project on April 29, 2018.

In September that year, the Supreme Court President at the time said the land was to be returned to the Treasury Department, he said.

However, in 2020, the department refused to take back the buildings and the land, claiming there was no law authorising it to take delivery of household items, such as air conditioners, televisions or furniture.

Mr Thirasak said that it has been more than three years since the issue was raised, but the problem has not been sorted out yet.

In 2018, the project drew public debate and opposition, especially from locals, about two months before it was due for completion in June that year.

The main point of contention was the project's location -- a forest in Mae Rim district. The site comprises of 45 houses and nine flats for Region 5 Appeal Court judicial officials. The area was once covered with forestry, activists said at the time, demanding the land be returned to its original state.

The government has decided the area should no longer be a residential zone and the Judicial Administration Commission has resolved to relocate the project to another area in Chiang Rai.

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