War on poverty results in war on TRT
Farmers stage rallies over disbanding committee
On March 26, two thousand protesting members of the
Federation of Northern Farmers and Northern People Organization Networks
with 70 pickup trucks and tour buses from Chiang Rai province traveled to
Chiang Mai City Hall to show their solidarity.
trucks loaded with protesters from Chiang Rai arrive to join the Chiang Mai
protesters. They complain that the government has done an about face on PM
Thaksin’s promise to solve poverty problems.
Weera Promsorn, leader of the Federation and the Network,
said the government has disbanded the committee appointed to administer the
eight methods of attacking poverty, thereby doing an about face on PM
Thaksin’s promise to solve poverty problems.
The Federation now demands the government solve
agriculture problems, such as deforestation, unproductive land, water
management, low prices of crops, debt management, and local whisky
production, all of which have been affected by government projects.
At two previous meetings with the protestors, PM Thaksin
Shinawatra and concerned ministers pledged that solutions would be
forthcoming as soon as possible.
The rally leader said that, following the government’s
pledge, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, deputy prime minister, was appointed
chairman of a committee to follow up the war on poverty, but then sent a
proposal to PM Thaksin to withdraw the appointment of the committee and
change the direction of the war on poverty.
For a long time now, the Federation and Network has had
faith in and supported the Thai Rak Thai Party, and PM Thaksin Shinawatra,
as he was from the North; however, now they feel the government’s actions
have deceived them and betrayed their trust.
The protesters presented a new proposal to PM Thaksin
through Kritsadaporn Siampakdee, Chiang Mai Provincial Authority’s
permanent secretary who pledged that he would send the proposal to the PM.
It is time for the PM to acknowledge he has problems in the North as well
as in the South.
Deadly air pollution
Many causes, but not so many answers
With the worsening situation in Chiang Mai as regards air
pollution, the Social Research Institute (SRI) at Chiang Mai University
supported by the Pollution Control Department and Thai Research Funds (TRF)
organized a second meeting with public participation regarding atmospheric
pollution in Chiang Mai.
Dr. Duongchan Apavatjrut Charoenmuang, from the SRI,
Chiang Mai University, expressed her concerns over the air pollution, saying
that this situation has caused the highest incidence of respiratory diseases
and lung cancer in the country. Pollution is now at critical levels in the
The Chiang Mai monks also participated in the meeting and
will no longer burn garbage within the temple grounds. They said they hope
that their example would be followed by the other religious denominations in
Tambon Suthep Administration Organization (TAO) is
getting involved since the burning process is often discovered in its areas
of responsibility. The measures combating this problem include obtaining
information on ways to produce fertilizer from garbage. The TAO would
purchase the garbage disposal units.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Senee Kanchanawong from the Faculty of
Engineering, CMU said that most tambon municipalities take charge of garbage
management in their areas, but some of their methods are substandard.
Manop Kulsiri, an educational supervisor at the Regional
Office for Education Area 4, stated one problem is caused by farmers cutting
branches off their longan trees and then burning them. They do not appear to
realize they can make bio-fertilizer from all organic waste.
Panthip Plaza, Chiang Mai branch opening this month
Local companies vying for outlets
The Chiang Mai branch of the renowned Panthip Plaza in
Bangkok is due to open soon, construction having been going to plan since
November last year.
Plaza buildings are under construction, and should be open for business this
Wisanu Wangvisut, general manager and a board member of
the IT City committee has leased the area on Changklan and Sridonchai roads
for the construction of the shopping center.
More than 200 outlets, such as Data IT, Mega Universe,
A&L, Chi Chang, IT City have reserved positions in the plaza.
Sumalee Lukuan, marketing manager for Chi Chang Computer
said they believe the 10 years experience of the Panthip executives would
make the new center in Chiang Mai very successful.
Sudaporn Paenkumyat of Campus Computers in Chiang Mai added that her
reasons to locate in the new center related to the positive results from its
center in Bangkok.
Mae Sai’s Friendship Bridge opens April 30
Thai and Burmese PM’s to be first across
The second Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge will be opened on
April 30. The bridge crosses the Sai River in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai.
Thailand has paid for construction of a temporary customs house and
landscaping of both riverbanks.
Sriprom Hormyok, Chiang Rai deputy governor, said the
opening would coincide with a meeting of the Thai and Burmese economic
ministers on April 29 and 30 at Keng Tung or Chiang Tung town inside Burma.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Burma’s Prime
Minister General Khin Nynt will jointly preside over the opening ceremony.
Burmese authorities have asked Chiang Rai province to
allow Burmese tourists to use border passes, valid for seven days, just as
Thai nationals do when entering Keng Tung, Chiang Tung and Lar in Burma.
Chiang Rai province will cooperate with Thai government
offices to inspect and prevent trafficking in drugs and illegal goods in the
border areas. They do not want this new bridge to become a conduit for the
drug trade from Burma.
Rabies vaccination program pushed in Chiang Mai
Everybody except the dogs in agreement
Following reports of dog attacks, Chiang Mai people have
become very wary of the roaming packs of dogs in the city. This is
worthwhile, as rabies is still an important, fatal disease carried by the
Anunworapanya, head of the Livestock Development Office, vaccinates a dog.
Vet Somporn Pornwisetsirikul, head of the Animal Health
Development Group, Chiang Mai Provincial Livestock Office, said that
domestic animals, such as the maligned St Bernard and Dalmatian dogs, were
not fierce, but they do need to be properly trained. Similarly with
Rottweilers, they are good guard dogs, but can be taught not to bite. He
said that the recent attacks may have come about through poor obedience
training for the domestic dogs.
He said it is important to attempt to neuter stray dogs
and street dogs, as otherwise their numbers become too great. They are also
a significant factor in the spread of rabies. Vet Somporn said that people
should be very wary of dogs that are foaming at the mouth, as they may have
The Provincial Livestock Office and Tambon Chang Puek
Municipality are carrying out a rabies vaccination campaign, which began on
March 15 and which will continue until April 30, to reduce the risks to
On March 25 at Chiang Mai Municipal Stadium, Chiang Mai
Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, accompanied by Decha Kuwuttayakorn,
director of Chiang Mai Municipality’s Public Health and Environment Office
and Chang Puek municipal councilors presided over the opening ceremonies for
the vaccination program. On the opening day, 11 citizens brought in their
dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies.
For further information on the vaccination service, contact the
Provincial Livestock Office, Muang district, Chai Prakan district and
Chormthong district, Livestock Operation Center and every Tambon
IPC joins the cotton pickers
Weaving, plaiting and dyeing exhibition
Nopniwat Krailerg and
Wanchai Ratchadamart, Industrial Promotion Center (IPC)
director, said the IPC in collaboration with TV Channel 11 and the Tourism
Authority of Thailand, Northern Office would organize the “6th Cotton
Weaving, Plaiting and Dyeing exhibition” April 2-6. It will be held from
9.30 a.m. - 8.30 p.m. at IPC on Tung Hotel Road, Chiang Mai.
OTOP products from eight upper north provinces will be on
sale from 360 booths. Other products available include cotton clothes, silk,
Sa paper products, souvenirs, vegetable fiber wickerwork, jewelry, leather,
herbal products and foods, wooden products and earthenware.
There will be training courses on production of dyed
fabrics, Batik cloth, and fashionable bags from hemp. Each training course
will be six hours, with application fees under B. 200.
Wanchai said that IPC recognizes the significance of cottons and the
cotton weavers groups, so they want to push cotton products in the market.
The IPC policy in support of OTOP and cotton weavers follows government
policy asking for support of 50,000 SME entrepreneurs this year.
‘Khu Gamm’, the musical,
at the Kad Theatre April 2-4
Kad Suan Kaew is repeating the very popular musical love
story, last performed in their theatre in February. Hailed as the best play
seen in the last 10 years, Pol. Lt. Suchai Kengkarnkha, managing director of
Kad Suan Kaew said he was proud to bring it back for another short season.
The production team and performers are the same, with
Teeranai na Nongkhai, as Angsumalin, Seki Ozeki, the Japanese model and
actor as Kobori, plus performers such as Vorarit Fueng-arom, Chalit
Fueng-arom, Tanee Poonsuwan, Ranya Siyanon, Neeranuch Pattamasut, Yanee
Tramot and Direk Amattayakul.
‘Khu Gamm’ is directed by Suwandee Jakraworawut and
is a classic love story between Kobori and Angsumalin. Kobori was a Japanese
soldier who was in Thailand during World War II who fell in love with
Angsumalin, the only daughter of Luang Chala Sinturat. Angsumalin was
already engaged to another Thai man but for political reasons, she was
obliged to marry Kobori, the man who she hates most. With his goodness
towards her and her family, her hatred is replaced by love but before she
discloses her feeling, tragedy tears them apart.
‘Khu Gamm’ runs through Sunday, April 4. Tickets are
350, 650, 800 and 1,000 baht available at the PR Counter, G floor, call 053
- 224444 ext 19911, 19015.
Musical artists to help keep a child alive
Charity concert brings hope to AIDS children
Thai Youth Action Programs (TYAP) recently participated
in the “One World Beat Global Music Festival”. In 40 countries across
the world, in more than 150 venues, artists raised the awareness of HIV/AIDS
to support children and families affected by the disease.
TYAP organized their concert at the Monkey Club, to raise
funds for the “Keep a Child Alive” and the PHA Network.
The concert started with a warm welcome for everyone from
Oven Elias, TYAP fund raising and communication assistant and Sasithorn
Kamrid, who is working for the Community Theater Project and Human
Trafficking Control Center in Mae Aie, Chiang Mai.
Independent actress Siwaporn Dangtong performed ‘The
Mask of Truth’ and said that she feels a great pity for HIV affected
children, and everyone should help and encourage them to go on and try to
live as happily as they can.
Rangson Rasi-dip, Season Awards artist 2002, expressed
his feeling through music, one of his items including the words, “Like
line of raindrops falling on desert, precious love we give each other”
backed up with Isara Dawkaew on keyboards, whose ‘Tam Kan Long’ album
will go on sale on April 12. They were followed by Scott Jones, a US artist
who performed some of his beautiful Thai songs on keyboard. Tanachai Ujchin
played the ‘Modern Dog’ and western songs.
At the finale, the profits were donated to Tawee Yodruen,
of the committee of People Living with HIV/AIDS Network Chiang Mai, by Mrs.
Pattamon Kiatrungwilaikun, owner of Monkey Club and Kaewta Sangsuk, a TYAP
To donate money for the Fund for Children Affected by
AIDS, this can be done through Thai Farmers Bank saving account no.
245-2-54386-1, Charoenmuang Branch, Chiang Mai.
Lamphun’s town planning focusing
on industrial estate expansion
Prayoon Wongpanitch, Lamphun’s deputy governor, last
week chaired a workshop on planning for Lamphun province. About 100 district
chief officers, heads of government offices and local administration
organizations in Lamphun attended the workshop, which was organized by the
Lamphun Provincial Public Works and the Urban Planning Office, and held at
the Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai.
Deputy Governor Prayoon Wongpanitch said, “The province realizes city
problems have increased and will hold discussions with factory owners in the
estate to find solutions.”
Deputy Governor Prayoon said that due to the present
economic growth, many urban residential areas have been built contrary to
city planning and regulations.
Previous city planning has resulted in some positive
outcomes, but simultaneously has caused negative affects to the city as a
whole. Commercial buildings in Lamphun have produced ghettoes, city streets
became narrowed and electricity and water supplies have become inadequate
for residential use.
Prayoon mentioned the zoning of Lamphun’s industrial
estate. In the past, the estate was not a residential area, but after many
factories had been built in the area, many workers moved to live around the
estate. Finally, it became a massive community that causes many problems to
the city, such as pollution and traffic jams.
“The province realizes city problems have increased and will hold
discussions with factory owners in the estate to find solutions,” said
Happy Birthday HRH Princess Ubolratana
Her Royal Highness Princess
Ubolratana was born on April 5, 1951, in Lausanne Switzerland. She is the
eldest daughter of HM the King and Queen. Chiangmai Mail humbly joins the
Kingdom of Thailand in wishing Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana a most
happy birthday on April 5.
Which way is Chiang Mai going?
Up in smoke says Urban Development Institute
A seminar on Chiang Mai’s many challenges attracted
more than 150 academics, students and local residents on March 20. They
gathered ideas to solve problems ranging from air pollution and traffic
congestion to new problems they asserted were arising from government mega
express concerns over worsening pollution.
Yongyuth Sapsin, representing a working group studying
air pollution at the Social Research Institute of Chiang Mai University,
said air quality in Chiang Mai City is worsening. According to the Pollution
Control Department study, atmospheric dust levels around Yupparaj Wittayalai
School on March 11 exceeded a standard limit and this continued for several
“The levels involved could harm people, leading to
reduced life expectancy. Inhaled dust cannot be expelled but attaches to the
windpipe and lungs,” he said.
Records for 2003 showed that more than 700,000 patients
suffered from respiratory diseases in Chiang Mai province. Of these, 32
percent contracted lung cancer - the second highest level in Thailand after
Other causes of air pollution include smoke from burning
garbage, to forest fires and vehicle exhaust fumes.
Students from Prince’s Royal College and Chiang Mai’s
Future Club expressed concerns over worsening environmental problems from
industrial factories, hotels, households and markets along the Ping River
and Mae Kha Canal. The students claimed residents failed to treat wastewater
before releasing it into the river.
Other problems include dust from road construction, failures in garbage
management, and non-observance of traffic rules. They accused government
officials of being unwilling to take action against excess smoke emissions
Chiang Mai will be promoted
as the health hub
Will bring in 5 billion baht says government
Komol Chobchuenchom, deputy
secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board
(NESDB), says that the government has planned to push Thailand as health
capital of Asia, and is appointing Chiang Mai as a health center in the
NESDB is focusing on three main groups of health services
including spa, dental treatment and herbal products. It is estimated the
government would spend around 174 million baht to push Chiang Mai as the
health care center, and this will take about five years to accomplish,
starting from this year. It is estimated that these three health-related
businesses will generate incomes of at least 5 billion baht.
The 174 million baht budget to be approved by the Cabinet
will support laboratory experiments, product examination and product
analysis. This Northern Region Health Center will be established at the
Nursing Faculty, Chiang Mai University. The Spa for Health Academic
Institute will be at the Pharmacy Faculty, Chiang Mai University and these
centers are expected to commence within this year.
Doi Luang cable car receives 5 million baht feasibility budget
Another PM Thaksin grand plan
On March 22, Plodprasob Surasawasdee, permanent secretary
of the natural resources and environment ministry, chaired a conference on
the progress of the cable car system to Doi Luang in Chiang Dao district.
Plodprasob stated that the cable car concept to Doi Luang
came from PM Thaksin Shinawatra after he flew over the area and returned to
terra firma with the idea that this area should be developed. The PM
assigned Plodprasob to oversee this development. A study team was formed to
examine the project’s environmental impact on communities, environment,
society, traditions and culture in the area.
Participants at this meeting included Sophon Damnui,
director of Zoological Park Organization of Thailand; Maj Gen Kraisiri
Booranasiri, directorate of Engineering; Nikom Putta, chairman of Ping River
Watershed and Resources in the Upper North Networks; Udom Methadamrongsiri,
representative from Tourism Authority of Thailand, and academics from Chiang
Mai University and Maejo University and associated organizations.
A 5 million baht budget has been set aside for the
project’s feasibility study. 3 million baht is earmarked for foreign
academics to design the cable car system, while 2 million baht is for Chiang
Mai and Maejo University researchers to promote good understanding about the
project in the local community.
Nikom Putta said that he did not know much about the
cable car project and did not properly understand. Personally, he was
worried about the establishment of a cable car in the area since it was his
hometown and the government officials did not provide enough information
Nikom also suggested that the government should study the
impact of each project before starting them, build understanding with local
communities and allow the communities to take part in considering the impact
upon the community.
No bonus for burnt Benz
A man who claims his aging Mercedes Benz spontaneously
combusted has had his claims for compensation rejected by Mercedes importer
and assembler DaimlerChrysler.
Jaruwat Techawut, 30, claimed his car, which had been
imported from another country, began belching smoke while he was driving
with two friends to Chiang Rai. Jaruwat, who is managing director of
Suksawas Mai Ad Thai (Plywood), says he is lodging a complaint with the
Office of Consumer Protection.
fire damaged old Mercedes Benz.
After about 50 km he smelled burning. When it became
severe he stopped at Mae Khacharn Hot Spring where fire erupted and spread
Jaruwat, his friends and local villagers failed to
extinguish the blaze. According to Jarawut, the old car finally exploded.
He notified the Tambon Mae Chedi police station and
contacted a local company to inspect the car and send all relevant
information to DaimlerChrysler in Bangkok.
A week later, the company and its Chiang Mai and Bangkok
dealerships rejected any claims for responsibility but Jaruwat was offered
100,000 baht discount on a new Mercedes Benz.
Jaruwat denied that the car which he had used for nearly eight years had
Occupational therapy for Chiang Mai Central Prison inmates
Wing 41 takes them under its wing
150 ‘trusties’ - inmates of Chiang Mai Central
Prison, will be going to the Wiwat Pholamuang School in a military camp of
Wing 41, for a five months long course to cultivate their occupational
skills and mental qualities to prepare them for being sent back into
Siampakdee visits the inmates at the central prison. With him is Siriwat
On March 23, Kritsadaporn Siampakdee, Chiang Mai
Provincial Authority permanent secretary, presided over the handing over
ceremony of this year’s first group of 150 well behaved inmates.
Siriwat Sairattana-in, commissioner of Chiang Mai
Provincial Central Prison handed over his charges to Group Captain Naen
Sritajit, deputy commander of Royal Thai Air Force’s Wing 41 at the
ceremony held at the prison.
Most of the prisoners had been found guilty of drug
trafficking - but now are well behaved and intend to work for society.
Siriwat said that in the Region 5 area, there are 19,140
inmates, and 631 inmates in this region were sent to attend training courses
in 7 military camps.
At the same time, at the Women’s Correctional Institute, Kwanchai
Wongntikorn, Chiang Mai’s deputy governor, was present for the handing
over ceremony of 189 female inmates to Wiwat Pholamuang School at the 5th
Special Force Regiment in Mae Rim district, Chiang Mai.
Nan province counteracting women and children victims of human trafficking
Help is available for children and women who are the
victims of the flesh trade in Nan. Pimol Saengsawang, head of Nan Provincial
Social Development and Welfare Office, said that trafficking children and
women has become a widespread problem internationally.
The nine provinces in the upper North (Chiang Mai, Chiang
Rai, Mae Hong Son, Phrae, Nan, Phayao, Lamphun, Lampang and Tak) all have
children and women in the flesh trade. Some provinces are gateways for alien
children and women who enter Thailand to work as prostitutes or to use
Thailand as a passageway to enter a third country.
International organizations have signed an agreement of
cooperation on children and women in flesh trade. Nan province has
established an operation center to assist these victims, and take
disciplinary actions on illegal brothels and traffickers. The center will
rehabilitate children and women before they return to society, prevent and
work on strategies and activities to cope with the human problem.
They are appealing to the public, that if they find
children and women being lured into the flesh trade, forcibly detained,
raped or forced to be beggars, to please inform Nan Provincial Social
Development and Welfare Office at 054 710 220 or at any district offices and
police stations in the Nan province.
Mae Hong Son experiencing severe forest fires
Last week, bush fires spread into two residential areas
in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district.
Katanyoo Chaichuen, Head of Irrigation Distribution
Division, said that one of the forest fires started on the southern area
behind Ban Mon Talang Forest Office and stretched into irrigation office’s
area, leaving two houses razed to the ground. Officers from the Irrigation
Office, Forest Office and four fire engines spent an hour unsuccessfully
trying to extinguish the blaze.
At the second fire at Ban Tung Kongmu village, the blaze
took five hours before burning itself out, causing damage to a 15 rai area.
To try to avert total immolation, the Mae Hong Son
provincial authorities have run a Forest Fire Prevention campaign in honor
of Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate her 72nd anniversary.
Supoj Laowansiri, Mae Hong Son governor, stated that the
forest fires were getting more and more severe in this northern province,
with negative impacts to the environment, economy, society and health of the
Chiang Mai policeman changes sides
Thought himself above the law, instead of upholding the law
Pol Sergeant Manit Wilairat, 32, has been charged with
multiple robberies after a long and detailed police investigation. The
accused was a patrolling police officer who used his position to dupe the
unsuspecting public. He was finally arrested after 50 city robberies had
Sergeant Manit, the accused policeman
The investigation team came from Muang Chiang Mai Police
Station who arrested their brother policeman after a raid produced more than
200 stolen items. Pol Sergeant Manit confessed that he had committed the
crimes from October 2003 while on patrol.
Greed seemed to be the factor that brought the robber
policeman undone, after more than 50 complaints of vehicles being broken
into in the Chiangmai Land Housing Estate at night.
With no movements on the case, Pol Maj Gen Kasem
Rattanasunthorn, the commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division,
directed Pol Col Taweechai Prateep U-sanont, the superintendent of Muang
Chiang Mai Police Station to investigate.
More police were brought in, with the investigation team
led by Pol Lt Col Narich Sorndith, spending over a month to observe the
area. Witnesses began to indicate that a black Mitsubishi Strada truck was
seen at the crime locations. Believing that they were on the trail, they
followed the truck lead and found that it was owned by Ms Tassanee
Jareonkunwiwat, who admitted that her boyfriend often used the vehicle.
By now, hot on the chase, the police located the
boyfriend’s house and with a search warrant they completed their raid. The
policemen were shocked to find that it belonged to Pol Sergeant Manit
Wilairat, 32, who was the night patrol policeman from Phuping Police
Inspection of the vehicle produced many stolen wallets
and personal belongings. In the house, the investigating officers also found
wallets, cameras, ATM cards, car keys, US dollars and Korean won banknotes,
two 9mm guns and one 11mm gun, sixty-two 9mm bullets and twelve 11mm
Despite the evidence, Pol Sergeant Manit denied his
guilt, even though 10 victims identified him as the thief. Further charges
are pending as robberies committed in other areas such as Tambon Chang Puek
and San Sai district are being investigated.
Pol Sergeant Manit has been suspended from his duties while the case
comes to trial.
Drug suppression hauls
turn up at auction
Transactions transparent say NNCO
The Northern Narcotic Control Office (NNCO) has sold
confiscated goods and properties worth 64.7 million baht from its northern
region drug suppression operation.
The goods have been sold at 33 auctions since 2000.
Confiscated properties sold include cars, motorcycles, rice paddies, cows,
pigs, buffaloes, buildings, incubators, chemical fertilizer, pesticide, tea
trees, stereos and car accessories and spares.
The most recent hauls were 2.33 million baht of jewelry,
diamonds, gold, and precious stones made into ornamental items and small
Buddha images plus items of processed woods.
NNCO Director Pithaya Jinawat asserted that each auction
was conducted immediately, “Without any payola from any capitalists.”
Officers working under the control of the Narcotics Control Office are
excluded from the auctions.