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Farmers pay the price for EEC


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Farmers pay the price for EEC

By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM 
THE NATION 
CHACHOENGSAO

 

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Land expropriation rife as developers scout sites for industrial projects.
 

AN INCREASING number of people in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) provinces are finding themselves victims of unjust expropriation and land-grabbing, as developers hunt for sites to facilitate investment and industrial development.

 

Wandee Buaphrom, a 62-year-old farmer in Tambon Khao Din, Chachoengsao province, stared at her lush paddy field in the midst of the rainy season. 

 

Although she has invested in and planted rice crops on the land as generations of her forefathers have done before her, she has been dispossessed of the land. Her green paddy field will soon be turned into an industrial estate. “I am a tenant on my own land after my father lost ownership of the land to a loan shark, as he was unable to pay back his debt because of the extremely high interest rate. So my family became landless farmers and we had to lease our rightful land from the landlord to continue our way of life,” Wandee said.

 

“However, last year something strange happened; the landlord said we do not have to pay the rent any more, because he had already sold the land to a land broker. He said we should pack up and leave, because the land will be used to develop an industrial estate in the EEC.”

 

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Wandee and her family, however, have refused to move out. For her family, the land is not only a source of income but also their very home, she said. Moreover, they have nowhere else to go.

 

“I do not know how much longer we can stay here, as workers are already entering our land with bulldozers. We can only hope that the authorities or someone will help us,” she said with tears in her eyes.

 

According to Sarayuth Sonraksa, coordinator of the Klong Luang Watershed Council, Wandee’s family is one of more than 10 farming families in tambon Khao Din that are the victims of unjust land expropriation. The same land broker bought about 4,000 rai (640 hectares) of land in the area from different landlords to resell at a higher price to a developer who wants to establish an industrial estate specialising in battery manufacturing.

 

Development of the new battery industrial park violates the current Chachoengsao city plan that has designated the area an agricultural zone, says Sarayuth. The project developer has also failed so far to conduct public hearings and an environmental impact assessment of the project, he adds. Similar land conflicts have been erupting throughout the three provinces – Chachoengsao, Rayong and Chon Buri – within the EEC after the National Council for Peace and Order last year announced the corridor’s development as a major initiative to attract foreign investors and revive the country’s economy. 

 

This has led to a sharp increase in demand for land for industrial expansion in the region.

 

The situation is severe in Chachoengsao, where 94 per cent of local farmers in the province are tenants and do not hold ownership of their ancestral lands, said Pornpana Kuaycharoen, Land Watch Working Group coordinator.

 

“Due to the lack of land ownership, the local farmers in Chachoengsao are more prone to be victims of land-grabbing, especially when the demand for land is rising within the province to develop industrial parks and new EEC development projects,” Pornpana said.

 

“As of now, we have received distress calls from many local people in several areas of Chachoengsao, for instance the farming communities of Tambon Yothaka in Bang Nam Priew district and Tambon Khao Din in Bang Pakong district.”

 

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She explained that as many local people only rented their land, they were at risk of being expelled at any time, because their landlords could terminate the lease contract in order to sell the property to real estate brokers.

 

“The land and real estate market in the province has been very active in Chachoengsao since the EEC development was announced,” she said. “The land price in the province is skyrocketing, creating incentives for land brokers to pool together land from private owners and sell them to industrial developers at a higher price.”

 

Meanwhile, Public Works and Town and Country Planning Department director-general Monton Sudprasert said the government acknowledged the agricultural potential of Chachoengsao and so intended to develop the province as a “liveable city” and a comfortable residential zone for workers in Bangkok and the EEC.

 

Monton said there was also plenty of unfertile farmland that could be redeveloped for the new city. However, he said agriculture would remain the most important economic activity in the province.

 

Full story: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30356482

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-10-16
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problem is many thais do not understand that if they do not repay a loan they lose their land if it is collateral and still think they should own it. Unfortunately if they are silly enough to borrow from loan sharks and allow their land to be put up against the money they are no longer the owners, this is a perfect example, her father took the loan out using the  land but she refuses to accept the truth of it, she does not own the land or have any right to it, same in any country where you borrow and use collateral. Why didnt she/her family pay the loan out instead of simply leasing the land or was it cheaper to lease as money always seems to be the deciding factor. While loan sharks are a huge problem here if the farmers stopped using them they would not be losing their land

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

The same land broker bought about 4,000 rai (640 hectares) of land in the area from different landlords to resell at a higher price to a developer who wants to establish an industrial estate specialising in battery manufacturing.

I thought this kind of land speculation was illegal. Is there not a minimum time frame between buying and selling?

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59 minutes ago, seajae said:

problem is many thais do not understand that if they do not repay a loan they lose their land if it is collateral and still think they should own it. Unfortunately if they are silly enough to borrow from loan sharks and allow their land to be put up against the money they are no longer the owners, this is a perfect example, her father took the loan out using the  land but she refuses to accept the truth of it, she does not own the land or have any right to it, same in any country where you borrow and use collateral. Why didnt she/her family pay the loan out instead of simply leasing the land or was it cheaper to lease as money always seems to be the deciding factor. While loan sharks are a huge problem here if the farmers stopped using them they would not be losing their land

It stands to reason if the banks give you a loan and you use the house as collateral if you don't pay you loose the house, same anywhere, so I can't see why there's such out cry, I think they just deliberately dumb down. 

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1 hour ago, seajae said:

problem is many thais do not understand that if they do not repay a loan they lose their land if it is collateral and still think they should own it. Unfortunately if they are silly enough to borrow from loan sharks and allow their land to be put up against the money they are no longer the owners, this is a perfect example, her father took the loan out using the  land but she refuses to accept the truth of it, she does not own the land or have any right to it, same in any country where you borrow and use collateral. Why didnt she/her family pay the loan out instead of simply leasing the land or was it cheaper to lease as money always seems to be the deciding factor. While loan sharks are a huge problem here if the farmers stopped using them they would not be losing their land

Why the hell haven't the authorities shut these loan sharks down? Could it be that they get a piece of the action? Is that ok by you? 

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6 minutes ago, chainarong said:

It stands to reason if the banks give you a loan and you use the house as collateral if you don't pay you loose the house, same anywhere, so I can't see why there's such out cry, I think they just deliberately dumb down. 

Loan sharing is illegal. How dumb are some people?

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As a tenant anywhere, you can be kicked off the land, our of your condo or off the property on which live easily. Some people don't get that it seems. Owners can do what they want with what they own. Not illegal nor immoral. It's their property!

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1 hour ago, jerojero said:

As a tenant anywhere, you can be kicked off the land, our of your condo or off the property on which live easily. Some people don't get that it seems. Owners can do what they want with what they own. Not illegal nor immoral. It's their property!

They got ownership of the land by loan sharking which is illegal in Thailand. You may have no morals but against the law is against the law. Period. An honest government would investigate this case and if ill gotten the land should be returned and the loan shark criminally charged.

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