Call for demolition of housing project at foot of Doi Suthep dismissed by court

Chiang Mai’s Administrative Court dismissed a case yesterday (Wednesday), filed by a self-proclaimed conservationist, demanding that the Treasury Department demolish all houses and buildings on a plot of land at the foot of Doi Suthep in Mae Rim district of Chiang Mai province.

The plaintiff, Suvit Rungvisai, claimed that the 13.6 hectare plot, where 45 detached houses and nine residential buildings have been built, is within the boundaries of Doi Suthep national forest reserve and Suthep-Pui National Park.

The Administrative Court ruled, however, that the land in question is outside the boundaries of the national forest reserve and the national park and that the Office of the Judiciary had been granted the permission to use the land by the Treasury Department for housing for judicial officials.

The one-billion baht housing project came under heavy criticism from environment-conscious civic groups in Chiang Mai, who claimed that it has resulted in the destruction of forest at Doi Suthep, which they regard as a sacred part of the natural heritage of the province.

In April this year, the Treasury Department took over the land, which has been placed under the temporary supervision of the Chiang Mai-based army unit.

Construction was suspended about two years ago, following the protests. Most of the housing units have never been occupied.


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