Patong Municipality this morning (October 16) held a public hearing about the concept of building a “green road” from Sirirat Rd at the north end through to Muen Ngern Rd.
However, the project has been opposed by some because of doubts over its suitability and the possibility it may spark a land-grabbing frenzy.
Land next to Freedom Beach was the subject of an investigation by the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and land papers covering 64 rai were later rescinded because they had been corruptly issued. Before that the land had been advertised for sale for billions of baht.
Opponents believe that building a road along the edge of that 64 rai is likely to promote development greed and a new round of corruption as unscrupulous people try to grab the land between the road and the beach.
But Chairat Sukban, Deputy Mayor of Patong Municipality, denied that there were any ulterior motives in the plan. He said there were three reasons for it: to create an additional escape route in case of a tsunami; to ease traffic on the existing road; and to create a “green route” for tourists.
“The route of the road is bordered by SorPorKor land or Forest Reserve, and there is already a dirt road, so we have to designed it so it will not affect the forest, local people or land owners.”
Tambon Karon Headman Kamnan Winai Chidchiew, who opposed the project, said, “First of all, we have to ask who will they use our money for? Who are the ‘locals’ they say will benefit? Real local people who live locally? Or locals as in business people?”