MORE RESIDENTS of the Mahakan Fort community will have to leave in September as part of a Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) beautification plan.
Bangkok Governor Pol General Aswin Kwanmuang on Wednesday led a team of BMA officers to clean and repair the Mahakan Fort area in preparation for the royal funeral for the late King Rama IX in October.
Aswin said the BMA had been working cooperatively with members of the Mahakan Fort community to help them relocate next month.
He added that the BMA would clean Mahakan Fort using special techniques to preserve the original facade of the 234-year-old fort, after which the BMA would continue with the beautification plan for the area, which was scheduled to be completed within two months.
“Bangkok only has two old forts left in the city and we have to preserve them, since the last cleaning and repairing of both forts was at the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Bangkok’s founding in 1982,” he said.
The other fort is Phra Sumen Fort on Phra Athit Road.
The BMA has been working with people in the Mahakan Fort community to help them relocate and also speaking with experts in the preservation of antique houses as part of the beautification plan, Aswin said.
“As of now, there are only 29 houses left in the community, and 12 more will have to be demolished and the former occupants will have to move next month,” he said. “People have assured us that they will move out and this is a sign of good cooperation between the community members and the BMA.”
However, deputy community head Pornthep Buranaburidet said people in the area still insisted on standing their ground because they wanted to live in their homes and help authorities take care of the historic site, while preserving the living historical heritage of their community.
“We are still doing what we can for our rights to live in our homes. The community opens every weekend for visitors to learn about the historic heritage of the community and shows the public that we have the potential to be a living museum for Bangkok’s folk history,” Pornthep said.