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'Let the poor tap rubber at reclaimed plantations'

With the Army and related agencies looking to reclaim at least 3,000 rai from groups which had encroached on state forest in Phu Phan district in Sakhon Nakhon, officials have suggested that the province should let poor people tap rubber at reclaimed plantations.

Lt-General Jarukiat Chaiwong, who led the Army Region 2 working team to tackle deforestation, said an inspection yesterday of Phu Phan's 402 hill showed that some 5,000 rai were cleared and burned for growing rubber trees. He urged police to arrest the encroachers as soon as possible.

Jarukiat said he had also suggested to province officials an idea from the junta - that, rather than cutting down rubber trees, they could let the poor tap rubber there without having land ownership rights. Provincial police have launched 24 lawsuits over encroachment in Phu Phan forest so far, including 12 cases against people involved at 402 hill.


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