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NCPO urges ministry to scrap useless projects, give plots to the landless

A member of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) met senior officials from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry yesterday and advised them either to abolish or review projects that cannot be deemed worthwhile, transparent or fruitful.

The projects that have been implemented should be speeded up and completed by the end of this year, said Admiral Narong Pipatanasai, who is an adviser on social issues serving under the junta. Narong's department has initiated visits with permanent secretaries and senior officials at the ministries.

He also expressed support for the integration of budget management and planning by the ministries of Tourism, Education and Defence with the Natural Resources Ministry.

The ministry briefed the admiral on four immediate issues: land encroachment and illegal logging of sandalwood trees; flood and water management; pollution and waste management; and the lax enforcement of laws on environmental protection.

Permanent secretary Chote Trachu said the ministry's immediate projects would focus on forestation and preservation as well as the protection of sandalwood and teak trees. The ministry also provided details on more than 3,000 badly managed garbage-disposal sites across the country.

Chote said more than 10 million rai (1.6 million hectares) of the country's 140 million rai of forested land was being encroached upon, adding that these areas should be allotted to landless people - a policy that had been agreed upon by the NCPO before Narong's visit yesterday.

He also said a special land deed should be issued to landless people, instead of making them use existing deeds or other land-ownership documents that are easily transferable or saleable.


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