Local people in Chana District, Songkhla, have put up billboards opposing government plans to build a deep sea port in their area as part of the Landbridge scheme. They are also opposed to a planned petrochemical industry, as they do not want their home to become another Mab Ta Phut, the polluted Eastern Seaboard industrial area.
On 6 Dec, about 200 local people from several villages in Chana District put up campaign billboards near public land in Suan Kong village, where the Marine Department of the Ministry of Transport plans to build a deep sea port.
Two deep sea ports are planned to handle the transport of goods under the Landbridge scheme; one in Chana on the Gulf of Thailand and the other in Pak Bara, Satun Province, on the Andaman coast. There is already one deep sea port in Songkhla.
The billboard messages were clear, including ‘Stop the industrialization plan’, ‘No more deep sea ports’. Mab Ta Phut was cited as a bad example of pollution.
Donronee Ramanya, a resident of Mu 11, Suan Kong village, said that if this huge deep sea port was built, villagers would have to move from their homes where they had lived for almost a hundred years. Apart from the port, he said, PM Abhisit Vejjajiva had said that there would also be petrochemical and associated industries in this area to make it worth the construction cost.
Donronee said that the villagers did not want an industrial estate like Mab Ta Phut in Rayong on the eastern seaboard, for fear of pollution. A recent chemical leakage at Laem Chabang Port was a bad example for them, he said.
The authorities had hardly visited the villagers to provide any information, and the villagers had never been involved in the decision-making process, Donronee said.
He said that a study by the project developer contained inaccurate information. It said that there were no rare marine species such as dolphins in this area, but, in fact, dolphins were always seen there. He believed that the misinformation was meant to mislead the public into believing that the area was not fertile, thus suitable for building a port.
He said people came from many villages to join the activity, because the port would not affect just Suan Kong and Na Samian villages where the port would be built, but people in Songkhla as a whole.
‘PM Abhisit has told people in Songkhla twice that we have to decide whether we want it or not. Today, we’re repeating that we don’t want it. From what the PM has said twice, this project will surely go ahead, along with the associated industries. He should really listen to the people, instead of having the answer already in mind, and sweet-talking Songkhla people into agreeing with the decision,’ Donromee said.