Alro insists it's 'not park's land'

Alro insists it's 'not park's land'

Farm land claims near Khao Yai 'are lawful'

An official points to a map showing the boundary of Khao Yai National Park, a section of which is part of a land dispute over Sor Por Por 4-01 documents for landless farmers. The issue was clarified before the House committee on land and natural resources last week. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
An official points to a map showing the boundary of Khao Yai National Park, a section of which is part of a land dispute over Sor Por Por 4-01 documents for landless farmers. The issue was clarified before the House committee on land and natural resources last week. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

The Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) on Saturday insisted that all disputed land plots near Khao Yai were lawfully designated as agricultural land and did not overlap with national park land as claimed by the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).

Alro's secretary-general Vinaroj Sapsongsuk said Alro and the DNP had previously agreed to work together to examine the land ownership disagreements near the park.

The land in question, located in Ban Hew Pla Kang in tambon Mu Si of Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima, belongs to the Alro, Mr Vinaroj said.

He cited findings from a recent survey conducted by the Royal Thai Survey Department (RTSD) which said the land is not a part of the park.

He said about 33,896 rai of land was handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in 1962 to be implemented in a land reform scheme.

Then, on Dec 26, 1984, a boundary marking in Khao Yai was conducted, he said, noting the action was approved by the Alro and the Royal Forest Department, which at the time oversaw national parks in the country.

At the time, approximately 86.25% of such land was occupied for agricultural purposes, he said.

Alro therefore began allocating rights to use the land to farmers following the enactment of the 1975 Agricultural Land Reform Act, Mr Vinaroj said.

If the government wants to demarcate the land and turn it into a buffer zone, a formal amendment of the law is needed, he said, adding compensation for farmers currently occupying the land should also be granted.

An Alro committee would continue to investigate its provincial officers over their alleged misconduct in the issuing of Sor Por Kor documents (title deeds) on forest land, he said, adding these Alro officials have been transferred to make way for the probe, and would face disciplinary action as well as criminal and civil charges if found guilty.

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