Air force says golf course ‘can’t be converted’

Air force says golf course ‘can’t be converted’

Pathum Thani site still has strategic value for army and can't be made into public sports complex

Players and caddies gather on a green at Dhupatemiya Golf Course in Lam Luk Ka district of Pathum Thani. (Photo: Dhupatemiya Golf Course Facebook page)
Players and caddies gather on a green at Dhupatemiya Golf Course in Lam Luk Ka district of Pathum Thani. (Photo: Dhupatemiya Golf Course Facebook page)

Dhupatemiya Golf Course cannot be converted into a sports complex as the site is a military security stronghold, according to Defence Ministry spokesman Jirayu Houngsub.

He was responding to a suggestion by Move Forward Party MP Chetawan Thuaprakhon that the air force surrender its two land plots — Kantarat Golf Course and Dhupatemiya Golf Course — to the government for conversion into public parks.

The army recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Treasury Department on managing its commercial welfare projects and using state land for commercial purposes to ensure transparency and regulatory compliance.

Mr Chetawan previously said that the handover of Kantarat Golf Course, located between runways at Don Mueang Airport, would serve the government’s plan to expand and upgrade the airport.

On Monday Mr Chetawan filed a motion to consider turning the 625-rai Dhupatemiya Golf Course in Lam Luk Ka district of Pathum Thani into a sports complex.

Some parts of the premises could also be made a public park to increase the green area, he said.

The Move Forward Party has been spearheading a campaign to identify dozens of military-held properties and businesses — from golf courses to broadcasting — that have nothing to do with its core functions. As well, it has complained about a lack of transparency in accounting for the revenue the businesses generate for the military.

Mr Jirayu, as a member of the house committee studying the transfer of businesses run by the military, said that ACM Punpakdee Pattanakul, the air force commander-in-chief, was delighted to hand over the Kantarat course to the government. A development plan to benefit all people is being discussed, he said.

However, he disagreed with the idea of converting the Dhupatemiya site into a sports complex.

The location, he said, had in the past been a key military stronghold to defend the capital against foes from the North and Northeast.

Mr Jirayu said he was told by the air force that some parts of the Dhupatemiya must be reserved as it is a key security area of the army, and construction of large buildings cannot be carried out.

The air force is trying to determine which areas have to be reserved or to keep operating the area as a golf course.

Regarding the transfer of navy-owned power plants in Sattahip, Chon Buri, he said a sub-committee would conduct an in-depth study to determine about how much of the output can be transferred to be managed by a public power provider.

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