The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) yesterday clarified its decision to scrap an e-ticket system at six national parks, saying the system was not fully ready.
DNP director-general Atthapol Charoenchansa said it was cancelled due to technical issues, not because the DNP had a hidden motive as some people had suggested.
"The e-ticket system was scrapped due to a technicality. It isn't because the department wants to allow corruption, as some people alleged. The system was implemented on a trial basis at six parks while the others continued to use the paper-based system," he said.
The six parks in question are Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park in Krabi, Ao Phang Nga National Park in Phangnga, Mu Koh Similan National Park in Phangnga, Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima, Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi and Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai.
Mr Atthapol's clarification came amid scepticism from critics who viewed the e-ticket system as a corruption-proof method of ticketing and one that would allow authorities to control the number of visitors to prevent overcrowding.
The DNP chief said he informed Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Pol Gen Phatcharavat Wongsuwan that the e-ticket system had been scrapped, adding the department was ready to explain the matter to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
Move Forward Party list-MP Prasertpong Sornnuwat was sceptical as to why the e-ticket system was terminated, given its potential to ensure transparency in the collection of entry fees.
Mr Prasertpong, who claimed to have worked as a tour guide before, alleged there were discrepancies between the collection of entry fees and the number of visitors, especially at the highly popular marine parks in the southern region.
The MP called on Pol Gen Phatcharavat to investigate rumours of corruption involving the collection of entry fees and urged the DNP to fix any technical issues so the e-ticket system could be resumed and extended to other parks.