Sea gypsies from the Andaman coast have called for help from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), via the Culture Ministry, after about 3,500 people were reportedly evicted from their homes in Satun and Phuket provinces by investors.
Permanent secretary for Culture Apinan Poshyananda, who took the request, said the ministry had no power over land ownership disputes. But he would report to NCPO deputy chief, navy commander-in-chief Adm Narong Pipattanasai, who oversees the Social and Psychological Division, for permission to set up a meeting to discuss the sea people’s problems.
Apinan said the previous Cabinet had assigned the ministry and related agencies to solve the sea gypsies’ problems, to rehabilitate their way of life and to conduct a feasibility study for a social and cultural zone. But this plan was shelved after parliament was dissolved.