Land bridge petition seeks House's help
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Land bridge petition seeks House's help

Conservation groups identify 4 objections

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin mentions the land bridge project during his
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin mentions the land bridge project during his "Thailand Vision" speech at Government House last month. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Conservation groups in Chumphon and Ranong have submitted a letter to four House committees calling for a probe into the government's Land Bridge project due to what they consider the high risk of it enabling corruption.

The groups earlier voiced their opposition to the project. Apart from the possible irregularities, construction of the large-scale land bridge would mean a loss of their homes and jobs, they said.

Representatives from the Chumphon-Ranong Conservation Group and the Rak Phato Network handed the letter on Wednesday to four standing committees in the House of Representatives.

They are the Committee on National Security, Border Affairs, National Strategy, and National Reform; the Committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment; the Committee on Political Development, Mass Communications, and Public Participation; and the Committee on Corruption Prevention and Suppression.

The groups said the committees provide them with the channels to voice their grievances and press for scrutiny of the project, one of the government's high-profile policies.

The letter outlined four observations about the project which the groups said needed more attention.

Their first claim is that the studies conducted have not met academic standards and have lacked public participation. The groups are demanding a new study which is accredited and incorporates the opinions of those who stand to be affected.

The second criticises the project for failing to contain a well-rounded assessment -- including what it intends to achieve. The groups noted the studies presented so far were fragmented and risk giving the government a less than credible outlook.

Thirdly, they urge the prime minister to consider a broader plan to elevate the economic potential of Ranong, Chumphon and other southern provinces, in areas such as tourism, fisheries and agriculture. This would be helpful in case the Land Bridge project fails to materialise, they said.

Lastly, the groups say the project will affect the locals' livelihood, properties and food sources as it will require a large amount of land for construction. They asked the committees to see if the project could allow foreign investors to profiteer at the expense of national security.

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