Conservation factions call for review into Land Bridge initiative
Conservation factions call for review into Land Bridge initiativeLegacy

A call for a thorough investigation of the government’s Land Bridge initiative has been made by Chumphon and Ranong conservation factions, citing concerns about potential corruption and negative societal impacts. This large-scale project, which has already encountered significant opposition, could lead to locals losing their homes and livelihoods, according to the conservationists.

Yesterday, representatives from the Rak Phato Network and the Chumphon-Ranong Conservation Group delivered a letter to four House committees. These were the National Security, Border Affairs, National Strategy, and National Reform Committee; the Land, Natural Resources, and Environment Committee; the Political Development, Mass Communications, and Public Participation Committee; and the Corruption Prevention and Suppression Committee.

The conservationists believe these committees provide the appropriate platforms to voice their concerns and push for a thorough examination of the project, a significant government policy.

The letter detailed four main concerns surrounding the project that, according to the conservation groups, warrant further scrutiny.

The first concern raised by the groups is the lack of rigorous academic standards and public participation in the studies conducted on the project. They are calling for a new study that meets adequate academic standards and includes the views of those who would be directly impacted by the project.

Secondly, the groups criticised the project for not having a comprehensive assessment, including clearly defined goals. They noted that the studies presented so far have been fragmented, potentially giving the government an incomplete and potentially misleading perspective on the project.

The third point raised by the groups urges the prime minister to consider a wider plan to boost the economic potential of Ranong, Chumphon, and other southern provinces in areas such as tourism, fisheries, and agriculture. They argue that such a plan would be beneficial if the Land Bridge project fails to come to fruition, reported Bangkok Post.

Lastly, the groups expressed concern that the project could harm local livelihoods, properties, and food sources due to the significant amount of land required for construction. They have requested that the committees investigate whether the project could enable foreign investors to profit at the expense of national security.

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Author: Mitch Connor