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Dispute over Khao Yai National Park land intensifies

Written by World Events

The dispute over land around Khao Yai National Park, between the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and the Nakhon Ratchasima Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO), appears to have heated up again after the ALRO issued a statement today, claiming its ownership of 5,423 hectares.

In the statement, ALRO cited a Royal decree, published in the Royal Gazette on September 18th, 1962, specifying that the 5,423 hectares are outside the boundary of the national park and that 86.25% of the land in question has been certified by the Forest Department, which previously oversaw the national parks, as having been utilised as farm land.

ALRO also cited a cabinet resolution on March 3rd, 1987, authorising the Ministry of Agriculture, which oversees ALRO, to arrange for the distribution of the land to impoverished farmers under the land reform scheme.

ALRO’s ownership of the land has recently been confirmed by the Army Survey Department, in accordance with their “One Map”, said the statement.

As such, the ALRO is empowered to allocate the 5,423 hectares for land reform purposes, in accordance with the Land Reform for Agriculture Act B.E. 2518 (1975), said the statement, adding that the land is not part of the overlapping area claimed by both ALRO and the National Parks Department.

ALRO is insisting that disputed land in Ban Haew Pla Kung in Mu Si sub-district, Pak Chong district, is a Sor Por Kor (land reform) area and ALRO officials have the right to install demarcation stones there.

The statement also said that ALRO maintains the principle that demarcation of forested area by any ALRO officials is regarded as illegal, adding that it is duty-bound to protect the rights of farmers in land reform areas for cultivation.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is, however, insisting that its map demarcating the boundary of Khao Yai park is accurate and the disputed land is within the park’s territory and is not overlapping land.

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