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Doi Suthep conservation network insists COJ housing project must be demolished

The state-people joint committee on the Court of Justice (COJ) housing project controversy in Chiang Mai has agreed on four-point proposal, but still at odds over whether the houses should be demolished.

The Third Army Region-appointed committee, which consists of representatives from relevant state agencies and opponents of the housing project which is located at the foot of Doi Suthep held a meeting on Friday (April 20) to work out solution to the conflict.

However, the COJ stayed out of the meeting and also prohibited the committee members from entering the housing project site to inspect the area.

The committee agreed on four proposals, which would be submitted to the Third Army commander Lt-Gen Wijak Banpasop and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for consideration.

The four proposals are:

  • Restoration of forest area at the project site.
  • The government must allocate budget and find a new site for the construction of COJ housing project.
  • The existing project site must be returned to the Treasury Department, which should hand over the area to the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.
  • Banning all construction projects in the forest area adjacent to Doi Suthep-Pui national parks.

Representatives from government agencies and from the people sector, however, could not reach agreement on the proposal to demolish the housing project which are nearly completed.

Doi Suthep Forest Reclaimation Network coordinator Teerasak Rupsuwan said since the committee could not agree on the matter, the people’s representatives opted to make two separate demands to the government.

The two demands were that the 45 single houses and nine apartments in the 89-rai land plot must be demolished that a working committee be set up to supervise the demolition process in accordance with the regulations and legal procedures, he said.

The controversial housing project for judicial officials belongs to the Court of Appeal Region 5. It will house 200 officials from seven judicial offices in Chiang Mai province.

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