Parks Dept. defends dismantling of Bombay Burma building in Phrae province

Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has apologized to the people of the northern province of Phrae for the recent dismantling of a colonial-style building in Chetawan forest, but claimed the demolition was part of a restoration process.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Woravuth Silpa-archa said he had received a clarification from the national parks chief, Mr. Tunya Netithammakul, saying that the 127-old Bombay Burma building was dismantled to be rebuilt with the same wooden materials, except the concrete foundation, which had eroded beyond repair.

Mr. Tunya also insisted that, in order to renovate the building, it had to be dismantled first, and assured that every wooden plank and its position had been recorded, so that they can be re-assembled.

Thanks to the skills of the artisans in Phrae, the park chief assured that the restored building will look the same, with the exception of new paintwork.

The demolition of the historical building, a reminder of the early logging business in Thailand, run by the multi-national company East Asia Pacific, has sparked widespread protests from conservationists, historians and the people of Phrae province.

Phrae Governor, Mrs. Karn Prempree, has ordered an investigation into the case.

Mr. Issaret Sitthirojanakul, director of the 13th Conservation Area Management Office, said that the building was badly in need of major repairs, because it was structurally unsound, and that his office had been allocated 6.7 million baht for the purpose.

He offered an apology for not informing the public in advance about the need to dismantle the building and said the work will be completed in 6 months.


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