Opinions sought as Chana plan resumes

Opinions sought as Chana plan resumes

Protesters from the Chana Rak Thin Network march to Dusit police station in Bangkok in January to acknowledge charges against them for a previous rally outside Government House. They want the government to halt the Chana industrial park project in Songkhla. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Protesters from the Chana Rak Thin Network march to Dusit police station in Bangkok in January to acknowledge charges against them for a previous rally outside Government House. They want the government to halt the Chana industrial park project in Songkhla. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The government has insisted it is open to opinions from all stakeholders in the Chana industrial project in Songkhla, amid controversy over the cabinet's resolution to resume development.

Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said the Office of the National Economics and Social Development Council will have a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Chana project carried out to examine proposals by civil groups.

On June 21, the cabinet reversed a decision, as per its promise to the opposition group, to halt progress on the Chana industrial project until a SEA was completed. Songkhla business council petitioned the government on Saturday to press on with the project.

Other role model city projects aimed at stimulating the southern economy that have passed study criteria and public approval, include a self-reliant city in Betong district of Yala, an agricultural industry city in Nong Chik of Pattani and a cross-border trade city in Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat.

Meanwhile, the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) is encouraging people to cultivate coconuts and palm trees on unused land, as well as raise giant mud crabs and cattle, Ms Rachada said.

According to the SBPAC, coconuts and crabs are recommended because of high market demand, and the giant variety are in even greater demand.

So far, it has been raised in 30 communities and made 30 million baht in income. The government is also targeting the production of 500,000 chickens a month for halal food.

"To enhance cross-border trade at the Sungai Kolok project in Narathiwat, the government is pushing for checkpoints to be tax-free after 26,000 Thai and foreign visitors passed through from May 5 to June 26," Ms Rachada said.

"The project aims at benefiting locals and securing their well-being and income, so it plays a critical role and will be improved to meet needs of people."

In June, Songkhla's Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking called on Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon to back the Chana project.


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