Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Minister Anek Laothamatas told the Bangkok Post on Saturday (Nov 21) that ownership of royal title deeds covering more than 100 rai of land along Ratchawithi Road in Dusit district would be handed over to two universities and two schools already located on the land reports Bangkok Post.
Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University will receive title deeds covering more than 60 rai, while Suan Dusit University will be granted more than 37 rai, Mr Anek said, adding that the value of the land was estimated at about 10 billion baht.
He and the presidents of the universities will have an audience with Their Majesties the King and Queen at Ambara Villa in Dusit Palace where the handover ceremony will be held. The other two schools -- Rachawinit School (elementary school), and Rajavinit Mathayom School (secondary school) -- will also receive the deeds, Mr Anek said.
His Majesty the King’s handover of the deeds was a great boon to the country’s education, he said. The land where the universities are located originally belonged to the King and the land is part of Dusit Palace, which is a complex of royal residences.
After the 1932 revolution that saw a change from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, some of the land was used for educational purposes, with the universities built on the land, Mr Anek said.
Apart from the handover of the deeds, the royally-owned land where Dusit Zoo, the country’s first public zoo, was once located will be used for the construction of a public hospital.
The zoo was closed on Sept 30, 2018, and is being relocated to a new 300-rai home in Khlong 6, Pathum Thani’s Thanyaburi district.
On Oct 4, 2018, the Royal Turf Club of Thailand (RTCT) returned its 102-year-old Nang Loeng racecourse in Dusit district to the Crown Property Bureau (CPB). Mr Anek said that a plan was in place to transform the racecourse into a public park in commemoration of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great.
’’The land where the universities are located is estimated at 100 million baht per rai. There is almost 100 rai, worth about 10 billion baht,’’ Mr Anek said.
He said the land dated back to King Rama I who had the Grand Palace built. The royal residence complex later expanded to areas including Ambara Villa, Chitralada Palace as well as the locations of the Dusit Zoo and the racecourse.
Sirote Phonphanthin, president of Suan Dusit University, told the Bangkok Post the land where the university is located belongs to the Crown Property Bureau. The land was originally owned by King Rama V.
He said the university was grateful that His Majesty attached so much importance to education.
He said the Royal Household Bureau previously told the university that His Majesty did not intend to reclaim the land from the university but would give it to the university instead. Mr Sirote said the university was established 86 years ago and has 8,000 students and 2,000 lecturers and staff.
Supornrat Sattathanachaiphat, director of Rachawinit School, said the handover of the title deeds was great news.
The school, which has 2,400 students, was established in 1966 at the instruction of King Rama IX to provide education to the children of palace officials, she said.