Land Dept asked to scrap land deeds for mountain water park since 2009: DSI
The Department of Special Investigation revealed today it had formally requested the Department of Lands to revoke the title deeds for the 1,800 rai of forest land, currently the location of a mountain water park project in the northern province of Phetchabun, since 2009.
The 1,800-rai land is in Phu Khi Kai mountain located between Lom Kao district and Lom Sak district of Phetchabun. Trees have been cut and land leveled as the construction of the water park is expected to begin anytime soon.
A number of high-level civil servants and senior military officials in Phetchabun were seen attending a party held recently at the site to announce the launch of the water park project.
Atthaphon Charoenchansa, deputy director-general of the Royal Forest Department, said the water park construction site comprises 46 plots of land in Lom Kao district and another 11 plots in Lom Sak district.
The Department of Lands had responded to the Royal Forest Department’s recent inquiry about the controversial project, saying the department was in a process of considering revoking the title deeds on these plots, he said.
The provincial land office was being instructed to inspect the title deeds in question, he said.
DSI chief Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang, however, said the DSI received a letter from the Royal Forest Department informing it about results of the department’s probe into the Phu Khi Kai land encroachment case since on June 23, 2006.
The department at that time requested the DSI to investigate the land encroachment case as it had clear evidence to prove that the encroached land was a forest, he said.
The DSI later found in its investigation that a number of state officials were involved in the unlawful land title deeds issued for the water park land, he said.
The DSI had therefore forwarded its findings to the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Nov 12, 2008 along with a request to probe against the alleged state officials, he said.
The DSI also requested in a letter sent to the Department of Lands on July 23, 2009 to consider withdrawing the title deeds issued for the land, he said.
A team of officials found during its inspection on Tuesday at the water park construction project’s site numerous teak trees cut down without permission and a number of logs were seized for inspection.
Anatthangthakhot Yathanachoti who identified himself to the inspecting officials as a caretaker of the project insisted the project holds proper land title deeds and didn’t encroach on any forest land.