Farmers buoyed by ruling against shrimp farm
The Court of Appeals has awarded Bt1-million compensation to an elderly woman whose farmland suffered at the hands of a nearby shrimp farm.Noi Meepuang, the 86-year-old plaintiff from Non Thai district, welcomed the verdict.
"I have solid evidence to prove my case," she said.
A number of her neighbours congratulated her on winning the case yesterday. The court issued the ruling on March 5.
The court ruled that a shrimp farm operated by Kraisorn Chotichakornphan had ruined 45 rai of Noi's paddy fields.
Noi said she would use a part of the compensation to repay her Bt200,000 debt to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives.
"Then I will make merit and buy more plots to farm," she said.
The court has also ordered Kraisorn to pay Noi's legal costs of Bt20,000.
Thavorn Petchkhunthod, who heads a group of Nakhon Ratchasima farmers affected by salt fields, said Noi's case marked a victory for those he represents.
"It will boost the morale of people affected by the salt fields in Non Thai, Non Sung, and Phra Thongkham districts," he said.
Thavorn said his group is now gathering evidence of salt fields' adverse impact on surrounding farmland and will soon present it to Nakhon Ratchasima Governor Winai Bua-pradit.
Well over 850 local farmers had voiced complaints against neighbouring salt fields, he said, with some 600 having signed a petition of protest.
"We are gathering the signatures of 250 others," he added.
Thavorn said that if the petition did not receive a satisfactory response, his group would appeal to the Nakhon Ratchasima Administrative Court.
"At least seven government agencies should be held responsible for failing to do their duty. Had they not been negligent, people would not be suffering from the impacts of the salt fields," he said.
Among the seven agencies he blames are the Pollution Control Department, the Department of Primary Industries and Mines, and several local administrative bodies.
"We are also preparing to seek a compensation via the Civil Court," Thavorn confirmed, adding that the amount sought would be over Bt250 million, for 10,000 rai of farmland affected since 2002.