Thai government proposes expropriation of heritage sites

  • Thailand
  • Wednesday, 06 Apr 2016

A view of the Si Satchanalai Historical Park, a Unesco World Heritage site in Sukhothai Province, northern Thailand.

BANGKOK: Thailand's National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) has agreed to a proposal that some people can continue living in cultural heritage areas – and even receive state funding if they agree to relinquish ownership rights to the land and help conservation efforts.

"We believe this idea will help reform the way people participate in the conservation of cultural heritage," General Jira Komutpong said Tuesday in his capacity as spokesman for the NRSA's committee on the reform of sport, arts, culture, religion, morality and ethics.

He said his committee had also thought about offering tax incentives to engage people in conserving cultural heritage.

"For example, we may encourage people to join conservation efforts by offering to waive household taxes," he said.

Jira said the panel would also propose changes to Thailand's Land Expropriation Act to make it possible for the state to take over plots of land where historical sites are located.

"The law about historical sites, historical artefacts, arts and national museums should allow the fine arts department to order land expropriations and determine the compensation amount," he said.

Jira said his committee would also push for an overhaul of the culture ministry to reform how the public perceives conservation of cultural heritage.

"The structure of agencies under the culture ministry should be overhauled too," he said.

However, he emphasised that an overhaul would not lead to new agencies or new positions being created. - The Nation/Asia News Network

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