The Royal Forest Department has ordered a major reshuffle that saw 30 directors of forestry offices in charge of forest areas rampantly encroached and occupied by influential people for commercial purposes removed to positions not directly involve with forest conservation and protection.
The mass shakeup following complaints of forest encroachments, destruction for commercial purposes in various forest reserves that has denuded the country’s once rich forest areas to critical level during the past several decades.
Significant and rampant encroachment of forest land are in Muak Lek district of Sraburi, Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima,
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has declared one of its urgent and significant task is to crack down on encroachment by influential people on forest reserves to build resorts for personal and commercial purposes.
It vowed to retake the illegally occupied forest land to the people and punish all involved, including corrupted officials who helped to falsify documents to enable influential people to occupy forest land illegitimately.
The mass reshuffle was ordered by director-general of the Royal Forest Department Mr Thirapat Prayoonsiton August 8.
Of the 30 senior forestry officials transferred is Mr Amnart Soikiew.
He was transferred from the 12th Forestry Management Office in Krabi to the Community Forest Office.
He was accused of helping to facilitate the issuance of land ownership documents in Sirinart marine national park to influential people to build resorts on the hilly island overlooking the sea
Others who were moved were those who were in charge of forest reserves in Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Tak, Nakhon Sawan, Prachinburi, Ubon Ratchathani, Ratchaburi, Phetburi, Phrae, Phitsanulok, Krabi, Phang Nga, and Phuket.