500 milk producers stage city hall protest
A case of crying over spilt milk?
More than 500 farmers are demanding solutions to the over
production of fresh cow’s milk in Chiang Mai, and to show they mean
business, they staged a protest, pouring milk on themselves, on city hall
and into the grass field in front of city hall.
poured milk over one of the farmers in protest of an apparent over
production of milk in Chiang Mai. The farmers called for the governor to
re-implement zoning to solve the problems of overlapping suppliers.
The protesters arrived at City Hall carrying 40 liters of
milk and wanting to meet with Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook. The
demand to see the governor was initially refused, so the protestors dumped
all 40 liters of milk.
Governor Pisit eventually agreed to meet the protesters
and was told that there are more than 1,500 farmers in the north producing
101 tons each day, while the demand in Chiang Mai was only 80 tons per day.
The farmers said the problems began following the cancellation of zoning
after the Khon Kaen milk scam was revealed and that the late commencement of
the school milk project was adversely affecting Chiang Mai farmers. The
protesters want the government to re-implement zoning to solve the problems
of overlapping suppliers.
During the meeting with the governor, the strikers threw
milk over the door and some poured milk over themselves.
The protesters also wanted the government to guarantee the price of the
products in the ‚one brand - one price - one quality‘ legislation. The
protesters gave letters to the governor to send to Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra, to advise him of their plight.
one stage of the protest, farmers doused the front doors of city hall with
New Year road fatalities appallingly high
51 people will not see the rest of 2003
By Nuttanee Thaveephol, Supatatt Dangkrueng
and editorial staff
In the Chiang Mai area, around 4000 people were injured
over the New Year break, with road traffic accidents and driver error being
the main causes for the shocking statistics. The Chiang Mai Provincial
Public Health Office released the details of accidents which occurred during
the New Year celebration with further details reported by Wieng Ping Rescue
Service, collected from 41 public health service centers.
In Chiang Mai, the injuries were reported as 2,375 cases,
with 339 accidents daily. There were 33 fatalities and road traffic
accidents were the principal cause of death, with 82 percent dying as a
consequence of road accidents. The highways with the highest number of
accidents were the Chiang Mai-Hang Dong Road, Chiang Mai-Doi Saket Road, and
Chiang Mai-Mae Jo Road. Causes included hazardous areas of road repairs,
inoperative traffic lights, and drunken drivers.
Chiang Mai was not the only center to have disastrous
holiday road tolls, as there were 1,751 accidents, and 18 fatalities in
other regions in the north. The Public Health Centers of Nan, Phayao and
Lamphun reported these appalling statistics. Dr. Preeda Deesuwan, the Nan
provincial chief medical director said that there were 671 accidents and 10
killed in Nan, 822 accidents and 6 deaths in Phayao and 258 accidents and 2
deaths in Lamphun.
The majority of deaths occurred with carelessness in
motorcycle riding being the prime reason, with December 31st being the worst
day. Males outnumbered females 1,257 to 494.
Kesorn Karnjanathiwat from the Lamphun Provincial Public
Health Office said that the accident experience was much the same as last
year, even though the safety riding campaign had been promoted. „Given the
high number of accidents this New Year, the Public Health Office will have
to improve the campaign for the Songkran Day in April this year,“ he said.
The causes of road traffic accidents are well documented
in this country, and it should come as no surprise that the most killed are
motorcyclists and pillion passengers, and the most common factor is alcohol
impairment. Compulsory wearing of accredited safety helmets by anyone on a
motorcycle would halve the death toll, and the use of safety belts reduce
the death toll in motor vehicles. Stricter controls on alcohol and driving
would then reduce the statistics even further. The death and injury toll
over Songkran last year would be considered a national disgrace in other
developed countries, and further fatalities would bring down a government.
There will undoubtedly be much official arm-waving before April, but will we
be reporting the same shocking statistics of needless waste of life and limb
Chiang Saen International Skill Development Institute to open this year
Developing the growth of technology
The International Skill Development Institute in Chiang
Saen District of Chiang Rai Province, which has been under construction
since 1999, will be opened this year under the Greater Mekong Sub-region
(GMS) economic development project.
Surin Jirawisit, director general of the Skill
Development Department in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, has
followed up the construction of the Chiang Saen International Skill
Development Institute and said that the institute will be opened within the
year for Chiang Rai people to take advantage of the growth of technology.
The institute is part of the Thai government’s interest
in the GMS cooperation and development project that consists of Thailand,
China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.
Development of skills, sharing of knowledge, cultural
differences and technology exchange are the objectives of the institute
which can be beneficial for the six neighboring countries.
America provides US$1.25 million for Mekong Flood Mitigation
The U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of
U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) signed a cooperative agreement
with the Mekong River Commission (MRC), providing US$1.25 million for a
five-year flood early warning project.
The Mekong River Commission is an intergovernmental river
basin organization sponsored by Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
The first phase of the project will be implemented in
Cambodia and Laos to enhance their flood disaster management capacity. USAID/OFDA
and MRC anticipate that the flood forecasting and early warning systems
developed in this project will be transferable to the other countries, as
well as other flood-prone river basins in Asia.
Following unusually severe and damaging floods over the
last three years, member countries asked the MRC to formulate a mitigation
and flood management strategy. The MRC council approved a flood management
program, which includes a warning and forecasting component.
USAID/OFDA’s support will (1) strengthen MRC flood
warnings, making them more responsive to the needs of the at-risk
populations and communicating promptly with the most flood-vulnerable
communities, and (2) develop tools, methods and protocols with
community-based partners to enable flood-vulnerable populations to
effectively respond to MRC prepared warnings.
Three hospitals in Chiang Mai quit the 30 baht Medical Scheme
Medical cover is far from universal
Dr. Nisit Wattanatchariya, the deputy director of Chiang
Mai Public Health Office, revealed that three hospitals have indicated that
they cannot continue to honor the 30 baht medical cover cards. They are the
Mother and Child Hospital, Chiang Mai Neurological Hospital, and the Rajavej
The Mother and Child Hospital and the Chiang Mai
Neurological Hospital indicated that they are specialist hospitals and give
that as their reason to quit the scheme. Rajavej Hospital is a private
hospital, which has admitted a large number of chronic, long stay patients.
Consequently the hospital has had expenses for these patients well in excess
of 30 baht each.
Dr. Nisit said that the private hospitals are at risk of
operating at a loss anyway, because there are only 150,000 people in the
municipal area. Each private hospital needs 30,000 admissions just to cover
costs, but in reality there are only 10,000 patients.
People carrying the 30 baht scheme cards are transferred
from these three hospitals to the Central Memorial and Ruam Pat hospitals.
500 million baht rung up in Chiang Mai cash registers over the long holiday
Tourists come for cool weather and abundance of activities
It was a banner year for business in Chiang Mai this New
Year, as over the long weekend tourists filled the local coffers with over
500 million baht.
Chalermsak Suranan, Tourist Authority of Thailand Region
1, Chiang Mai Office director announced the figures last week and said that
there were many contributing factors to the banner year.
“Chiang Mai is a major tourist destination in the north
where thousands celebrate the New Year holiday every year,” he said, and
“This year, attractions such as the Winter Fair behind Chiang Mai City
Hall brought many tourists to the region - with their money.”
Director Chalermsak also said that most of Chiang Mai’s
hotel rooms had been booked out for several weeks, and the result was a
windfall for tourist spots and souvenir shops in the area. Unfortunately,
there was a downside; that being increased traffic which brought traffic
jams to the main streets.
Results from circulated questionnaires indicated that
many tourists chose Chiang Mai as their destination because of the cool
weather and abundance of tourist attractions. Many said that the scenic
nature of Chiang Mai was a factor in their choice.
Many tourist spots, such as the Night Bazaar, Doi Suthep,
and Doi Inthanon, and tourist venues in the districts of San Kamphaeng, Mae
Rim and Hang Dong, were crowded with new faces, most of whom were again big
“On Yer Bike!”
Lamphun Governor Thawat Satheinnam said Lamphun is ready
to commence organized tourist bicycle rides to Chiang Mai, riding through
tourist attractions and historical building sites. The route has been
surveyed and there will be another survey on the 19th of January.
The Lamphun-Chiang Mai trip is 25 km long, commencing
from Cham Dhevi Monument in Lamphun, passing Muang Nga, Pratu Pa, Nong Chang
Keun, Chonkhan Pinit Weir, Ban Tam Nak and Wiang Kum Kam.
Along the way there are many interesting places with
traditional and historical sites, such as temples and old buildings. Besides
these, there are 130 year-old longan trees called Ton Muen (the ten thousand
tree) because this tree can produce longans and earn approximately ten
thousand a year.
The destination is Wiang Kum Kam in Saraphi District,
well known as the underground empire. These buildings, temples, pagodas and
chedis are buried 1.20 meters below ground level. This ancient city was
established by King Mengrai 716 years ago.
It is hoped that this project will encourage people to
ride bicycles and is another way to boost tourism.
Phuket pulls the plug
on Chiang Mai
Big shock as electric bus project delayed
Chiang Mai Municipality’s electric shuttle bus project
cannot be turned on because Phuket Province has pulled our plug by buying
all the busses in the Electric Shuttle Company stock.
Chiang Mai Municipality had planned to launch the
electric school bus project for students as their New Year present but now
faces a delay caused by the company’s lack of stock.
Through the order from Phuket, the Electric Shuttle
Company has sold all of their stock and since Chiang Mai City was only going
to lease the busses, Phuket Province, which bought the busses, got first
Panyapol Mongkolcharoen, the chief of the Municipal
Commerce Control Division of the Chiang Mai Municipal Clerk Office revealed
that the municipality might have to buy the electric buses instead of
leasing to ensure we get our own shuttles.
However, there must still be a budget appropriation for
the project and so far that has not been done, as the city fathers were sure
that they could lease the rolling stock. Meanwhile, the red busses are
Central Chiang Mai Memorial Hospital holds New Year charity activities
Donates first aid kits and sports equipment
To celebrate the New Year, Central Chiang Mai Memorial
Hospital carried out charity activities under the Royal Project at Thapae
Gate. Dr. Nisit Wattanajchariya, provincial deputy chief medical director
presided over the opening ceremony of the 6th public charity activities, and
was joined by Rasee Arnondawilas, the vice president of the Lions Club,
130-A, and the members of Chiang Mai Lions Club, Mae Raming as well as other
Lienglucklert, director of the Central Chiang Mai Memorial (standing back
row center) gave sporting equipment to schools in the Chang Klan area and
Mae Hia area.
Waranya Lienglucklert, the director of the Central Chiang
Mai Memorial said that the hospital participates in the 30 Baht Medical
Project, and is in charge of the Chang Klan area which covers around 24,000
residents, 9 schools, 8 communities, and the Mae Hia area, which covers 10
villages, and 3 schools. The hospital also provides a free mobile medical
service to serve the residents in the area.
Lienglucklert, (standing second right) and Dr. Nisit Wattanajchariya,
(standing next to Waranya), provincial deputy chief medical director gave
first aid kits to representatives of local schools.
The hospital holds these public charity activities each year, this being
the 6th occasion. The hospital donated Thai encyclopedias to 9 schools in
the Chang Klan area, and 3 schools in Mae Hia. The hospital also donated
items as glasses, study books and medicines to the local poor.
Financial brains meet with the IMF and ADB in Chiang Mai
The 15th Asia - Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Finance Minister’s technical working group meeting ended successfully with
preparations set for the upcoming 10th APEC finance ministers forum to be
held in Phuket September 4-5.
Visit Srisuphan, the director of the Office of Financial
Economy, said that about 80 officials participated from APEC membership
countries, through 17 economic zones, as well as representatives from
International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Director Visit indicated that the IMF has estimated that
the global economy has been recovering continuously since the beginning of
2002, and the production rate in the industrial and trade sectors is
However, he concluded that the IMF has stated factors
that may be affecting recovery are the uncertainty of economic status in the
USA, the increase of oil prices in the global market, the change of
important capital markets in the world, and the risks of economic recoveries
among the “new economy” countries, particularly those countries in the
economic group of Latin America.
The meeting also discussed the fiscal and financial
aspects of regional trade arrangements, in responding to free trade policies
in this region, and bilateral free trading. Other aspects covered included
bank deposit quarantine, disclosure of financial information, good
management, bankruptcy law, and money transferred for the purpose of
Chiang Rai’s economy looking up
Joint Economic Quadrangle Development
plans hinge on roads
The Chiang Rai border province has a bright future and
high potential for economic development through cooperation in border trade
this year, according to Damrong Saengkaweelet, the deputy director of the
Office of National Economic and Social Development Board.
Since China gained membership in the World Trade
Organization recently, it appears likely that Thailand-China relationships
in terms of the international economic cooperation will improve.
Under the cooperation plan, China will play a large role
in the Association of Southeast Asia member countries located along the
Mekong River, known as the Joint Economic Quadrangle Development Plan that
is a part of Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) - in which many countries
concerned called for establishment of international transportation routes
and communication links.
The roads linking Chiang Rai with southern China passing
through Burma and Laos are being built and developed under the Asian
Networking plan, said deputy director Damrong. “When the East-West
corridor is completed, the road distance will be reduced to 2,000 km, while
the sea route is more than 2,800 km from Thailand to China via Hong Kong,
and the Chiang Rai - Kunming Road will be cut down to only 1,200 km,” he
said. He also said at the Chinese trade seminar on investment opportunities
in south China for Thais, held at the Bank of Thailand, Northern branch
recently, that transportation costs would be reduced through the shorter
There are three possible routes that could connect
Thailand with China, with one passing through Burma at the Mae Sai
checkpoint, one passing through Laos at the Chiang Khong checkpoint, and
another one passing through Laos at Nan’s Huay Kron checkpoint.
In the meantime, China has constructed more motorways
connecting Burma and Laos with Thailand, “But a road passing through Burma
is still problematical because of the security dangers. That passage is
influenced by the minority groups,” he remarked.
However, the road linking Chiang Rai with China passing
through Laos is expected to be finished in 2007. These planned roads
connecting Thailand, Laos, Burma and China follow the GMS summit agreement
on the Asian highway networks. This Chiang Rai - China motorway link
covering a distance of 1,000 km is part of the special economic zone
development plan for Chiang Rai.
Meanwhile, a railway construction project from Denchai
District in Phrae Province to Chiang Rai is under review by the Thai
government. This is also expected to help boost transport and
As regards using the waterways, it is possible for cargo
ships to proceed along the Mekong River’s upper reaches after agreements
were reached among four member countries in the year 2000. The Asian
Development Bank (ADB) has provided some assistance with technicians and
loans for a feasibility study to adjust and drain the waterways. There is no
doubt in anyone’s mind that the previously locked China is the prize, but
access is the key.
Free trade zones in the north slow in coming
We are lagging behind claims Economic
and Social Development officials
According to the Economic and Social Development Northern
Region Office, preparations for free trade and border trading in the north
needs to be improved. The main issues are production factors and labor
In the past, natural resources have been used
extravagantly in the industrial development of the north. As natural
resources are diminished, prices for finished goods are pushed upwards. This
in turn has meant that local goods have become uncompetitive in the world
Preparations for free trade zones and trading across
borders around the north needs to see improvement in production methods and
quality so that the country’s products can be sold in the new global
market. In the local geographic area, Thai wages are higher than those of
the surrounding countries, which was again another factor in making local
goods higher priced than those from the neighboring countries.
Officials of the Economic and Social Development Northern
Region brought the issue of the North’s competitiveness to light, and are
facing the challenging problem that needs to be discussed to find the
Have you paid your taxes?
Pay on time - or wear the fine
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn is reminding the
people of Chiang Mai to pay their taxes by the due date. The announcement
from Chiang Mai Municipality particularly refers to business owners who have
to pay tax for their signs, and landowners in the municipal area who have to
pay land rates.
The signboard tax has to be remitted, with the
appropriate tax payment forms, before March 31 and the land taxes have to be
submitted before April 30 at the municipal districts. All taxpayers can
contact their local municipal offices at the following phone numbers -
Nakornping Municipal Office (0 5325 2478-89 ext 382), Kawila Municipal
Office (0 5324 9328), Mengrai Municipal Office (0 5328 0928-9), and
Sriwichai Municipal Office (0 5335 8125-6).
Taxpayers who have not paid their taxes by the due date
will be found guilty and fined and subsequently the tax rate will be
Bootleg Whisky kills two
and blinds two more
Licensed producers call for stricter controls
Construction workers from the Panpong Thai Company
Limited, on the Phrae Christian Hospital site had been drinking
‘moonshine’ (whisky laced with methanol) and two became very ill and
died, despite being rapidly transferred to the Phrae Hospital.
The deceased were Wittaya Phadta and Longkham Aisaen,
while Udom Kamsaew, their friend, was admitted to the Phrae Hospital after
having become blind.
After the incident, Phrae Hospital was informed that
there was a 4th patient rushed to the hospital when he drank the bootleg
whisky and had become partially blind. The doctors were able to save him and
expected that he would make a full recovery.
The Phrae Local Whisky Network is licensed to produce a
local whisky called “Local Wisdom Liquor”, but now is worrying about
some dealers who apparently have been adding methanol which will tarnish the
image of the local whisky. The network is demanding that the standard
government regulation covering the production of whisky be adhered to.
Drug purge by provincial police this year
Police on the spot in 5 minutes says commissioner
Pol. Lt. Gen. Inthadej Pornpeeraparn, commissioner of the
Provincial Police Region 5 emphasized that drug cases will get maximum
priority this year. He said that nobody was above the law in this regard and
even policeman would be investigated if they were found to be involved with
drugs traders. If found guilty they would be punished and discharged from
The commissioner said that the main reason for the
increase in drug trade locally was that the area is a checkpoint next to the
number 1 trouble spot of the country.
Provincial Police Region 5 drug arrest statistics in the
year 2002 revealed that more drug busts were made this year than over the
same period last year.
This year, the commissioner said, they will take this
once step further, and there will be an improvement in operations and police
teamwork for those in charge of drug investigations. There will also be
further training for officers on the topics of money laundering and drugs.
The training will be given by experienced local officers in cooperation with
anti-drug organizations from the USA. Police will also increase
investigations into the network of drug traders and minor dealers.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Inthadej Pornpeeraparn also said that
police response will be quicker, and when an offense is reported by the
public, officers will arrive at any situation within 5 minutes. However, he
said, the main work for the police this year will be eliminating drugs.
Police will also cooperate with Thanyarat Hospital in
order to assist drug addicts into therapy.
Mae Sa Village raided in drug swoop
200 police nab dealers, weapons and drugs
200 policeman from the Mae Rim Provincial Police Station,
the Chiang Mai Provincial Police, and the Office of the Narcotics Control
Board with police sniff dogs surrounded a Hmong village in Ban Mae Sa Mai,
Pongyaeng, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai having suspicions that the village
was being used to harbor drug activities.
The officers were divided in to groups to capture the
drug dealers, with 20 targets to find, and arrest warrants ready for 10
individuals. The drug dealers were arrested and yaba pills, heroin, opium,
and weapons confiscated in the raid.
Manas Thanomworakul, the headman of Mae Sa Mai village
was arrested, and 1 firearm, 1 pistol, 1 shotgun and 8 bows were confiscated
from the village. Shumporn Thanomrungrueng, Cha Lertchaisahakul and Lue
Youngsirisuk, on the wanted list, were also arrested.
An illegal immigrant Burmese, Mong Lay and 8 drug dealers
were also arrested with 68 yaba pills, a pack of heroin and opium tendered
Pol. Lt. Gen. Inthadej Pornpeeraparn, commissioner of the
Provincial Police Region 5, said that Mae Sa Mai Village had been one of the
main drug sources, and the center for drug addicts for a long time.
Thai-Burma drug crackdown policy thrashed out
Both Thailand and Burma agreed to seek further
cooperation from the Burma side of the border during a bipartite meeting
between Thailand’s Office of Narcotic Control Board (ONCB) and Burma’s
Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC).
The ONCB was led by Kitti Limchaikitch, ONCB secretary
general who also acted as the head of the Thai delegation and as the meeting
chairman, while Pol Maj Gen Khin Yi, the Burmese police chief and the
secretary general of CCDAC, acted as the head of the Burmese delegation and
the co chairman of the meeting.
The establishment of Work Coordination Offices was
announced at the meeting, with one located at Mae Sai District to work in
coordination with Thachilek Province in Burma, and the other at Mae Sod
District, Tak Province, where to work in cooperation with the Mywaddy
Province of Burma.
These offices to be will be operating under the drug
control and development projects, along the border crossings, and are
supported by the United Nation Drug Control Program (UNDCP) with some
financial support from Thai government. A third office is being considered
for Victoria Point on the Burma side opposite Ranong Province in the south
Burma has asked Thai authorities to organize training
courses on investigation for Burmese investigators. This training project is
supported by the Japanese government and will coordinate work covering
Burma, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
There is certainly much work to be done in this area, as
the Drug Suppression Police Command has arrested three suspects, with a haul
of 139.65 kg heroin, in the past few months. In addition, working in
cooperation with Burmese authorities, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the
Office of the CCDAC has resulted in Burma arresting three Burmese suspects,
with a haul of 36 kg of heroin, more than 5 million methamphetamines, 338 kg
of ephedrine, and 40 kg of caffeine in Thachilek Province. In April 2002,
with cooperation from Burma, Thailand and China, 17 suspected drug
traffickers who were networking in 3 countries were caught with a haul of
345 kg of heroin in China. Yaba is still a major item in cross border
trafficking with 32 million tablets being confiscated by the relevant
The next conference will be hosted by Burma in July.