A “land bridge to link the new seaport in the Andaman Sea and Songkhla port in the Gulf of Thailand.
A visit by a House committee member to study the planned construction site of the Pak Bara deep-sea port brought out protesters in droves who are opposed to the project .
About 300 people gathered at Moo 2 in tambon Pak Nam in Langu district during House Committee for foreign affairs member Sombat Sisurin’s visit to the proposed site on Friday evening.
The protesters demanded the 9.74 billion baht project be scrapped.
Mr Sombat’s committee is studying the port as part of a wider study into the preparations being made in transport and trade in the lead-up to the establishment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
Responding to the residents’ protests, Mr Sombat promised to raise their concerns about the impact of the project on their livelihoods and marine ecology with concerned ministers.
The Pak Bara deep-sea port is aimed at facilitating the transport of goods between the west and east coasts.
A “land bridge”, made up of roads and railways, will also be built to link the new seaport in the Andaman Sea and Songkhla port in the Gulf of Thailand.
However, the project, which requires the construction of a 2,250m-long port offshore and the reclamation of about 7,400 rai of land close to the Mu Koh Phetra Marine National Park worries local residents. They fear marine animals will be threatened and the subsequent industrial development will change the way of life in fishing communities.
Sombun Khamhaeng, co-leader of the civil network for the monitoring of development in Satun, said locals should be given a forum to provide information to members of the House committee about the potential negative impacts of the deep-sea port project.
So far, visitors to Pak Bara have only received information from state agencies who support the projects, but the residents have not been invited to present their opinions, Mr Sombun said.
Despite strong opposition from the residents, the Pak Bara deep-sea port is still part of the Transport Ministry’s multi-billion baht plan to improve the country’s logistical systems over the next five years.