The twists and turns of a family dispute over Bangkok's roads

PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

The descendants of two prominent families have been fighting for years to have several small lanes in Bangkok named after their forebears - with a resolution only now in sight.

However, the end of the dispute will force thousands of Bangkok residents to update their addresses and house registration records, not to mention thousands of commuters who will be confused when new road signs are erected on 59 small lanes.

At the outset of the dispute, Krissada Inthamara, a son of Pol Lt-General Toh Inthamara, had sued the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) for failing to name the lanes "Soi Inthamara".

He said his family name deserved to be commemorated because his father had played a vital role in developing land plots in the area for the police force.

However, Dr Rujira Bunnag, a grandson of Phra Sutthisan Winitchai, said the small lanes in the area should bear the name of his late grandfather.

Phra Sutthisan Winitchai had donated land plots to the police force to give access to Phaholyothin Road.

In 1960, a police committee passed a resolution that a road built to connect to Phaholyothin Road would be called Sutthisan Winitchai Road for the first 500-metre section, while the remaining part of the road would be called Inthamara.

In 2005, the BMA set up a committee to compile a list of roads in the capital and the whole stretch of the road was identified as "Sutthisan Winitchai".

Signs with that name were then erected, prompting Krissada, a lawyer, to petition to the Central Administrative Court.

In 2012, the court threw out Krissada's petition on the grounds that Toh was just a developer and it was enough for him to see his family name used on many small lanes.

But Krissada appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court, which earlier this month ruled in his favour and ordered the BMA to change the signs. Bangkok Governor Pol General Aswin Kwanmuang said his city administration would comply with the court's order.

Such a move meant the BMA would have to erect new signs on 59 small lanes along what is known today as Sutthisarn Winitchai Road, for the portion between Saphan Kwai Intersection and the Suttisarn Intersection, and another portion starting from Soi Inthamara 59.

However, not every party is satisfied with the resolution.

"If the land donor does not get the honour he should be entitled to, it will be difficult to expect people to donate their land for road construction in the future," Rujira said.

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