Huge police presence in Songkhla’s Jana district ahead of public hearing
As many as 1,000 police officers, from seven of Thailand’s southern provinces, are to be deployed in Jana district of Songkhla province this Saturday, to maintain peace and order during a public hearing, to be held at Jana Wittaya School, on the Jana industrial estate project,.
Police said that only stakeholders directly concerned with the project will be allowed into the compound of the school, and all of them will be subject to search and safety screening.
Plainclothes police have also been deployed to identify instigators of any disruption between those who oppose the controversial project and its supporters.
Meanwhile, a lecturer at Prince of Songkhla University’s Pattani campus, Mr. Somporn Chuey-aree, said in his Facebook post today that he was visited by police, at his home in Pattani province, who asked him whether he will be attending the hearing.
He said he suspects the police visit stemmed from his previous involvement in protests against the coal-fired power plant project in Thepa district of Songkhla.
He admitted, however, that he has not yet studied the Jana industrial estate project.
Members of the Rak Jana Network submitted a petition to the UND and the UNHCR representatives in Thailand this morning, expressing their concern over the project which, they claim, will disrupt the livelihoods of the local people, cause conflict and damage to marine resources and the environment.
The project covers five types of industrial estate and one services and residential centre. The industrial estates are for the agro and light industry, which occupies 680.5 hectares, heavy industry, which covers 640 hectares, electricity generation, which covers 640 hectares, an industrial estate related to port activities, which covers 320 hectares and a cargo distribution estate, also covering 320 hectares.