Published: 22 Oct 2013 at 19.10 Online news:
Southerners opposed to the government’s infrastructure development projects on Tuesday kicked off a march from Satun to Songkhla to voice of proposals set to affect their area.
The 200-kilometre march, led by the Thai Sea Watch Association (TSWA), is expected to take protesters one week to complete.
TSWA coordinator Wichoksak Ronarongpairee called on government to scrap its infrastructure development plans, which include a high-speed train to Songkhla, the Satun-Songkhla land bridge, and two deep sea ports – one at Pak Bara in Satun’s Lagnu district, the other in Songkhla’s Chana district.
The projects are part of the government’s 2-trillion-baht infrastructure development scheme.
Locals warned that the plans would harm marine ecology and destroy fishermen’s livelihoods. Southerners prefer to make a living from food- and tourism-related work as opposed to heavy industry.
TSWA chairman Banjong Nasea said the projects will have a big impact on national marine parks and marine ecology both in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.
The plan to build the Pak Bara deep sea port in the area reportedly includes about 4,700 rai from Petra National Marine Park in Satun.
The project will also affect popular diving sites at Li-Phe, Adang Ravi and the Tarutao islands, he said.
Mr Banjong said the developments will finally lead to the construction of an industrial estate that houses petrochemical and power plants.
“The project will completely destroy our livelihoods. We will fight until the end as we don’t want to share the plight as Map Ta Phut residents [in Rayong province] who have been affected by industrial development,” Mr Banjong said.