Deal on national park land will be upheld, says PM

Deal on national park land will be upheld, says PM

A herd of gaurs from Khao Yai National Park’s Khao Phaeng Ma Non-Hunting Area is seen coming out of the forest to forage for food. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)
A herd of gaurs from Khao Yai National Park’s Khao Phaeng Ma Non-Hunting Area is seen coming out of the forest to forage for food. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

The government on Thursday insisted on sticking to the agreement reached on Wednesday between the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) and the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) in handling all land ownership disputes between the two agencies.

"Wednesday's resolution was good enough and could apply to any new plots of land whose ownership is in doubt and could become the subject of a new dispute between the DNP and Alro," said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

He was responding to a revelation by National Park Office director Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn who said more than 150,000 rai of national park land had been encroached on with the goal of transforming it into land for agricultural reform.

The DNP owns national park land, while Alro owns land designated for use as part of its agricultural land reform mission.

On Wednesday, the DNP and Alro agreed to leave a buffer zone between a national park and a plot of Alro land untouched, while in the event that any Alro plots are later proved to be a part of a national park, the land document already issued for these particular plots must be revoked.

The two organisations also agreed to jointly survey Alro land plots that have already been issued with an agricultural land document and those pending such paperwork and report back to the government as soon as possible, said Jatuporn Buruspat, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

However, he dismissed speculation about interference by politicians in the issuance of Alro land documents for national park and disputed land, saying it looked more like "negligence" on the part of certain state officials.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has assigned Thanadol Suwannarit, an adviser to Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, to lodge a complaint with the Central Investigation Bureau seeking legal action against a number of Alro officials in Nakhon Ratchasima, said Alro secretary-general Vinaroj Sapsongsuk.

These Alro officials have been involved in issuing Sor Por Kor 4-01 agricultural land documents for plots connected to Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima, where the land ownership dispute between the DNP and the Alro originated.

According to a source, more plots in Dong Phaya Yen national forest reserve and Pang Asok forestry plantation -- also in Nakhon Ratchasima -- have also been issued with a Sor Por Kor 4-01 document, which is believed to have been issued together with those agricultural land documents for land plots in Khao Yai National Park.

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