Prayut to visit Mae Hong Son Jan 17

Prayut to visit Mae Hong Son Jan 17

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to visit Mae Hong Son on Wednesday on an 'inspection' trip, government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said on Sunday, a move likely to be viewed by critics as political posturing.

The spokesman said the northern province is one of the most poverty-stricken in the country. The province's high mountains and rugged terrain, mostly in areas designated as national parks, forest reserves and game reserves, leave residents with little arable land.

Many of the areas have limited access, he added, with few modes of transportation, and state services - such as roads, electricity, education and public health - in short supply. The combination of factors have caused development in the province to proceed at a snail's pace, Lt Gen Sansern said.

Despite the challanges, he said, Mae Hong Son has strong potential for development, with rich forest resources, numerous tourist attractions and a spectrum of cultures based on simple, sustainable living along the border with Myanmar.

"The government is considering ways of developing the province in line with the desires of the local people and the private sector. Potential projects include launching direct flights between Bangkok and Mae Hong Son, extending rail links into the province, modernising agriculture and encouraging cross-border tourism. The government is also exploring ways to boost the number of medical personnel to meet local demand," Lt Gen Sansern said.

The spokesman added that the prime minister will witness the handover of certificates to people selected to join the government's land allocation project.

Gen Prayut is also scheduled to chair a meeting on Mae Hong Son development strategy and visit various cultural and tourist sites, including Pha Bong Hot Spring and Phra That Doi Kongmu Pagoda.

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