Anupong vows to seek land to seek land use approval and punish officials that responsible.
Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda assured on Tuesday (Sept 12) he was ready to scrap a ministry’s order allowing a private company to utilize a community forest for the production of drinking water, and non-alcoholic drinks in Khon Kaen province if there is even one village protesting the project.
Gen Anupong’s reaction followed the Association for the Protection of the Constitution on Monday (Sept 11) asking the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate him and five other people for alleged abuse of power in giving approval to the KTD Property Management to utilize the 31-rai community forest in the Huay Mek community forest in Tambon Ban Dong of Ubonrat district.
Gen Anupong ordered the director-general of the Land Department to the site of the dispute today to find if there are any people in the area protesting the land use, and report back to him in 15 days.
The minister said an initial investigation found that local residents had expressed their protest against the company’s land-use application, but surprisingly, the public forum outcomes report said no people in the area protesting it.
He said if there is a single protest to the land utilization, he was ready to scrap the approval and find those responsible for punishment. He said since the community forest is a public land, it couldn’t be used for an individual purpose.
Meanwhile, KTD Property Development issued a statement reaffirming that its application for the land use in the Huay Mek community forest in Tambon Ban Dong of Ubonrat district has followed all legal and legitimate procedures required by both relevant government agencies and the local community.
It assured that the company will strictly abide by the laws in utilizing the public land to store water, with strong determination to keep and conserve the place as a green area. –Thai PBS