Now officials of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation began cleanup operation on the beaches.
Not only buildings and other concrete structures that were torn down, rubber trees which were grown in illegally occupied land on national park also were cut down and replaced with indigenous trees.
Encroacher’s have grown rubber trees in large areas in national reserves in southern provinces Krabi and Phuket.
The cleanup mission so far has recovered 300 rai (1 acre =2.5 rai) of reclaimed forest area to their former status.
Yesterday officials used heavy machinery to remove the structure of a seaside restaurant on Nai Yang Beach in Phuket’s province’s Thalang district.
Mr Nipon Chitiban, Director-General of the department, said the satellite image clearly determines that the restaurant invaded over two rai of the Sirinat national Park.
The land is reserved as national asset and no structure is allowed to be erected for benefit of any individual.
The authorities also cleared all wooden terraces of the restaurant.
According to the authorities, there are 370 cases of land encroachment in the province and the Department of Land will try to complete investigations on them within next month. Owner of the lands would be prosecuted if they were found to hold illegal land title deeds or ownership documents.
Mr Niphon said he believed some 700 rais of land had been made the encroached in this national park.
Relevant authorities had relocated people from this area before the department declared the area as the national park.
After the announcement, no ownership document or title deeds were issued and authorities were certain that everyone was removed from the area, he said.
As all structures are cleared out, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation, the military and Phuket Administrative Organization will jointly carry out a mission to rehabilitate beaches and transform them back to their natural state. The mission is expected to benefit the province’s tourism.
Meanwhile officials also raided a 170-rai of rubber plantation found to encroach on the Hat Nopparat Thara National Park on Phi Phi Island.
It is the biggest encroachment case in the province
Officials used circular saws to cut down all rubber trees in this plantation. The land will then be reforested and transformed into forest with indigenous trees instead.
These rubber trees planted on this land in Krabi province’s Nong Tale sub-district are 5-7 year old.
Director of National Park Office Samal Donnapee said there are 11 land encroachment cases in the sub-district where over 350 rai of lands are illegally acquired. The villagers tried to prove their ownership over the lands to authorities using their ownership documents and opposed authorities’ attempt to move them out.
But they eventually have to give in after satellite images show that their lands are located in the reserved forest area.
He said authorities use satellite images to help verify if the lands have been encroached. Authorities could confirm that the lands were invaded nine year ago. The images are strong proof.
All structures and rubber trees are expected to be cleared out within this week.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation will then reforest the encroached lands and transform them into new nature tourist destinations. – Thai PBS