Operators of illegal resorts and guest houses in Phu Tab Boek mountainous retreat have one of the two options – either they dismantle the premises themselves or the state will demolish them, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on Wednesday.
However, the prime minister indicated that the government might work out some ways to help out if the operators willingly move out and let the officials to carry out the demolition.
He brushed aside complaints by some of the operators that they had invested 100-300 million baht in loans obtained by commercial banks to build their resorts and now they are to be demolished. He said they should not have invested in the first place because they were fully aware that they had occupied the land illegally.
The prime minister stated that his government had been trying to reclaim the encroached land and to redistribute them to the landless poor so they would have a place to make a living.
He blamed previous administrations for doing nothing to stop the encroachment of state land and the widespread misuse of land originally meant for agricultural purpose. He also criticized previous governments of merely giving out land to the landless without giving them any guidance or help in the management of the land to make it productive.
Earlier this week, the governor of Phetchabun province gave the operators a seven-day reprieve to pack up their belongings after which officials will carry on the demolition.
The reprieve was in response to a protest by Hmong tribesmen – several of them resort operators – who have demanded that the demolition be suspended.