PHUKET: Residents of the Sathon Pho community in Rassada held a demonstration through the heart of Phuket Town yesterday (Nov 30), calling for the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) to cease legal action against them to have them evicted from state land.
The group, numbering about 200 under the organisation of the Phuket Community Rights Network, submitted a formal written request for the PPAO to end prosecution against residents in the area.
The group massed in front of Phuket Provincial Hall on Narisorn Rd, where PPAO Deputy President Deputy President Thiwat Sidokbub formally received the request.
Representing the group, Sinchai Ruphrojin, a member of the Phuket Community Rights Development Network and of the People for Justice Movement (PMove), explained that the area where the residents live was developed by the PPAO under the Baan Mankong project after the 2004 Asian Tsunami to give local residents a place to live.
Later in 2011, the land was deemed to be part of the “new Ratsada Pier community”, which is on land administered by the Ministry of Interior, he said.
The area was marked to be issued a special “community title deed”, which PMove and the residents have long campaigned that the government uphold, he added.
“But the community title deed policy has been halted due to political problems,” Mr Sinchai said yesterday.
In the meantime, with no residents in the village having any formal address, because the land is not registered by any formal title deed, they were forced to pay higher prices for essential utilities including electricity supply, Mr Sinchai said.
Not having a formal address also affected many of the local residents citizen rights under national government, and affected their access to national government services, he added.
“The community has not yet been able to enter into a lease agreement with the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation. The members of the group still insist on their original rights, but they don’t have the money to build a house, especially during this COVID-19 crisis,” Mr Sinchai said.
The formal request asked the PPAO to cease all legal action against the residents.
“Especially while the issue of the community title deed has yet to be resolved,” Mr Sinchai noted.
PPAO Deputy Chief Mr Thiwat said the issue would be raised at the next PPAO council meeting on Dec 15.
The National Land Commission was expected to raise this issue at its meeting next week, Mr Thiwat also noted.
“We can resolve this issue together,” he said.
Source: The Phuket News