From The Bangkok Post Internet Edition, 14 July 2000
Five communities vow to block survey teams
Confrontation looms as deadline nears
Residents of Ratchathewi and Pathum Wan districts, including the Ban Krua
Muslim community, confirmed their readiness yesterday for a looming
confrontation with the Expressway and Rapid Transit Authority (ETA).
The authority has overriden all objections and announced it will begin
entering their communities from next week to begin surveying for a
controversial new expressway access ramp.
About 300 representatives of five communities met at a mosque in historic
Ban Krua community at 2pm yesterday and agreed to bar access to ETA
They came from Ban Krua, Wat Phrayayoung, Saphan Huachang, Petchaburi 20 and
Wat Pathumwanaram communities. The planned 2-km road would run through their
neighbourhoods along the Saen Saep canal from Uruphong to Ratchadamri road.
Ban Krua leader Sarote Phuaksamlee confirmed his people were resolute in
opposing the ETA, and asked if the other communities were also determined to
keep on fighting. Their affirmations were unanimous.
Also present at the gathering were representatives from the Assembly of the
Poor, southerners who oppose the Thai-Malaysian gas pipeline, and inshore
fishermen from the South.
They also promised to support Ban Krua and its neighbours in opposing the
They all had common cause in opposing the government, they said.
Mr Sarote said the government must honour the conclusions of two past public
hearings which concluded the short expressway link would be of no benefit to
"The government has never recognised the poor's problems. It pleases only
the rich," he said.
The first public hearing was chaired by economist Narongchai Akaraseranee,
from April to June 1993, and the other by economist Ammar Siamwalla, from
April to September 1994.
Both hearing came out against the ETA's planned 4.5 billion baht "collection
and distribution road".
Poramet Phuto, a Ban Krua leader, said his people would not leave their
"The ETA recently applied for a budget of 3.5 billion baht to expropriate
the land, despite the fact its staff have not been able to enter it yet," he
"The cabinet finally rejected the request and this means that Ban Krua
helped the government save money."
He rejected the expressway authority's offer to build flats for residents
who agree to move out.
The agency would not have enough money for the flats, and the designated
sites in Min Buri and Nong Chok districts were almost fully occupied.
Another Ban Krua speaker said the young men had announced their readiness to
exercise their strength to block ETA staff from entering their community.
Kingkaew Attakorn, from the Kasemsan Palace community that is included in
the expropriation list, said her family would fight to the end to protect
"Our land is expensive, about a million baht per rai. If we needed money we
would have sold it, but we are determined to keep it to show respect to our
"We denied entrance to ETA staff who said our land would be expropriated.
Their message is an insult to us," she said.
The authority announced on July 24 it would definitely move in to make
surveys that would lead to expropriation, and gave people 30 days to
The Ban Krua community has been opposing the road since 1988. It is part of
the second-stage expressway system awarded to Bangkok Expressway Co.
Craig Townsend, PhD Candidate & Researcher
Apt. 35, Krisda Mansion
11/26 Sukhumvit Soi 1, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Thailand
tel: (66 2) 251-6472 fax: (66 2) 255-5933
Institute for Sustainability & Technology Policy (ISTP)
Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch
Perth, Western Australia 6150
tel: (61 8) 9360-6293 fax: (61 8) 9360-6421
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