Protestors halt Phuket hilltop project
PHUKET: About 400 local villagers mounted a protest in Patong today, calling for work to be stopped on a Kwan Yin shrine above their community on Phra Baramee Rd.
Friday 14 October 2011, 08:19PM
Work on the site, they said, had resulted in mud, debris, garbage, trees and rocks sliding down the hillside above their community. In Soi 4, near to the Novotel, mud and debris was washed into people’s homes, and sand and rocks blocked the road.
The protestors set up along the main Phra Baramee Rd, near the Nurul Islamia Mosque. If work was not stopped immediately, they said, they would block the road until it was.
Thachapol Kamintong, one of the community representatives involved in the negotiations, said that when work started on the site, there had been no problems, but the heavy rain of the past few weeks had resulted in erosion, with debris falling down the hillside from the site.
The protestors made three demands, he explained: The project must be halted immediately and all construction machinery removed from the site; the owner of the project must take responsibility for damage to homes from debris sliding down from the site; and a committee must be formed to check regularly that the owner is restoring the site to its original condition.
The committee would include the owner of the site, the Kathu District Officer and representatives of the local community.
The representative of the foundation that owns of the site, former Patong Mayor Anan Anantanawat, along with the Superintendent of Kathu Police, Col Arayapan Pukbuakao and Kathu District Officer Kanthi Silapa, were involved in half an hour of negotiations in the mosque with seven community representatives, at the end of which Dr Anan agreed to all three demands.
Protestors told The Phuket News that they had already sent letters of complaint to Mayor Pian Keesin of Patong and various other government departments, but had received no response. The protestors complained that no one from the Patong Municipality had come to join the negotiations.
“This happened in their town. Why didn’t they come?” one woman asked.
Dr Anan left the meeting without talking to either the protestors or the press.