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Pattaya Daily News

25 October 2012 :: 18:10:12 pm 67863

Residents Rally Against Koh Samet Bridge Shutdown

Local Rayong officials tried to calm an angry gathering of Rayong residents worried about the impending closing of the bridge to the Koh Samet island dock. Construction on the new bridge was halted because the builder did not have required legal permits.
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RAYONG – October 24, 2012 [Pattaya Daily News]; at 10 a.m., more than 50 agitated residents and business people gathered to protest the government’s announcement of the November 1 closure of the aging Koh Samet island bridge and dock for safety reasons.

Construction of the replacement bride is 90 percent complete, but the project was abruptly halted after the Thailand National Parks department found that the project did not have legal permits.

Responding to residents’ concerns were Mr. Piya Pitudeja, the president of the Rayong Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO); Mrs. Manthana Sangsiwarit, the general secretary of the PAO; and Mr. Supasak Pudpong, the secretary of the president, with the authority of Natural Resources and Environment Department of the PAO.

The officials explained the reason and necessity for closing the port on November 1 to the gathered residents, who argued noisily because they were all stressed and afraid of the harmful effects of the dock closure.

Mrs. Manthana said that the PAO had approved the building of the new dock bridge currently being built in a Phra Apaimanee design to attract the tourists. The project is more than 90 percent, but construction has been halted after the department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation issued a stop order when they discovered the bridge was being built without legal permission.

Specifically, the parks department said the builders failed to have an Environmental Impact statement done and secure the approval of the parks department beforehand. So the PAO had to follow their command and stop the construction. In the meantime, residents and the tourists visiting Koh Samet island were continuing to use the old bridge.

However, after the PAO Rayong had checked the area, they found that the old bridge had decayed too much and was not suitable for public use. Eventually someone was going to get hurt from an accident. So the PAO had to order that the bridge be closed by November 1.

Samut resident Mr. Bang-earn Patpibul, age 62, said that if the bridge is closed, the residents will suffer because there are no other docks in Samet island for them to use. He wanted to ask the Department of the National Parks, why did they had to stop the construction?

Mr. Bang-earn begged the government to solve the problem, because if the new bridge is not finished, the people of Samet and the tourists may have to swim, and how will the children go to schools, or the residents bring stuff from the mainland? Mr. Bang-earn worriedly said that he just saw chaos ahead.

Mrs. Kwanrudi Phumipatipat, the assistant of the head of the village, moo 4, Banpae, Samet island, said that the closure of the bridge would certainly cause suffering for the residents. From her viewpoint, she compared the government red-tape problem to an argument between big men, while the innocent small people are the ones really getting hurt.

Mrs. Kwanrudi wants the PAO and the National Parks department to talk and clarify the matter and solve the problem, so that Rayong residents will not suffer. She said that if they close the old bridge and dock without offering alternatives, the residents will surely rally with a big protest.

Unsafe Koh Samet Bridge Being Shut Down

Rayong residents and tourism businesses to Koh Samet island may be hurting from the abrupt November 1 closing of the Koh Samet port bridge for safety reasons. Construction of a replacement bridge was stalled because the builders lacked required permits.

Category : Tourism News

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