Court revokes order setting up Rayong industrial estate

RAYONG – Villagers in Muang district have won a long-running case in the Administrative Court, which on Wednesday revoked the order establishing the Lakchai Muang Yang industrial estate in their area.

The LK-Rubber Industrial City Hub was being developed by Bangkok-based Tribeca Enterprise Co Ltd, a subsidiary of rubber firm Thai Hua group.

The court upheld a petition filed by the Stop Global Warming Association and 133 villagers of tambon Samnuk Thong against the chairman of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) and five associates for their failure to follow legal procedure on the establishment of an industrial estate and refusal to allow the public any input in the making of the decision.

The IEAT announced the establishment of the Lakchai Muang Yang industrial estate on Dec 15, 2011 and it was published in the Royal Gazette just a month later on Jan 17, 2012.

The villagers asked the court to consider revoking the announcement, and to order related agencies to bring criminal charges against the defendants for negligence of duty. They also asked that the defendants be ordered to coordinate with related agencies over involving the people in decision-making, that the defendants be required to fully implement related laws and that they conduct an environmental impact assessment study, which must be approved by the National Environment Board and independent environmental organisations.

The case was first filed in 2012.

Emerging after hearing the court's ruling, along with 45 of the affected villagers, Stop Global Warming president Srisuwan Janya declared it satisfactory. He said it was in line with the demands of villagers in tambon Samnuk Thong that the order creating Lakchai Muang Yang industrial estate be annulled.

He said the development of an industrial estate would have a major affect on local people and the environment. The court ruled only to revoke the founding of the industrial estate with retroactive effect to the date of the issuing of the announcement on Dec 15, 2011. The other requests were rejected.

Mr Srisuwan said he would submit the court’s ruling to the National Anti-Corruption Commission,seeking an investigation into the chairman of IEAT board, its governor and Rayong’s industrial office for allowing the construction of factories even though the area had not been declared an industrial estate.

He said the case needed to be pursued as a precedent for the establishment of other industrial estates in Thailand, especially those in the designated special economic zones (SEZs), as they would certainly have a serious impact on the environment and the way of life of local people.

Lakchai Muang Yang industrial estate, or LK-Rubber Industrial City Hub (LK-RICH) was developed by Bangkok-based Tribeca Enterprise Co Ltd, a subsidiary of rubber firm Thai Hua group. According to its website, the company teamed up with the IEAT to develop 2,442 rai of rubber estate in Rayong with a target to become an eco-industrial complex.

Source URL: Bangkok Post