Thai PM calls for joint action over state land encroachment

Thai PM calls for joint action over state land encroachment
File photo of Thai army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

They included the Treasury Department, the Department and Cooperatives Promotion, the Social Development and Welfare Department, the Agricultural Land Reform Office, the Department of Land, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Speaking during his weekly broadcast "Returning Happiness to the People" on Friday, Prayut said the agencies should use the same maps and photos to ensure they were all on the same page in this task.

The law enforcement should also consider the principles of political science to take care of the affected people, he said, urging that the people should be steered away from violating the law and urged to do proper land registration, which would have information about their origin and land ownership.

If the authorities deemed that the people had no land for vocation or no career, they should then consider how to help them, he said, adding the government would later discuss about land distribution in various formats.

Meanwhile, a military unit under Army Region 2, led by Col Sommai Busaba, yesterday inspected an 800-rai public forest in tambon Han Huai Sai in Nakhon Ratchasima's Prathai district.

More than half the area was reportedly encroached by villagers in the past decade for farming. It was reported that some people, whose lands bordered the forest, even had land title deeds that covered the forest soil.

Sommai said he would urge the related agencies to reclaim the 400 rai back from the farmers, while the issue of overlapping land title deeds would be handled by the district office and local bodies by carrying out a land survey. Illegal deeds would be revoked.

Earlier on Friday, Sommai led the team to inspect the 1,900-rai Khoksad Forest in Nong Poung district following villagers' complaints that the forestland had been encroached on. They found the forest area had been turned into residential houses and monastic compounds.

Nong Pluang district chief Suphan Pongsong said a 700-rai nearby plot covered 25 rai of forestland and was covered by a title deed.

Colonel Sommai said he had instructed Nong Puang district and the Land Department to carry out a land survey and mark encroached lands, so that legal action could be taken against the law violators.

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