National parks chief face transfer
Believes move may be linked to him razing illegal resorts in Thab Lan ParkThe chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation cried foul yesterday over his imminent transfer. Damrong Phidet said he had heard he would be transferred out of the top job at the parks department.
"But I have not yet seen the official order yet," he said. "I feel the transfer order is not fair".
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk, meanwhile, denied reports that Damrong would be axed for demolishing resorts illegally built in Thab Lan National Park.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra set up a committee on Monday to find the truth about the process that led to the demolition of nine luxury resorts in Wang Nam Khiew in Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachin Buri's Na Di district.
The panel will be chaired by Thongthong Chandrangsu, permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office.
Yingluck told the Cabinet meeting in Surin on Monday she had instructed Thongthong to set up a committee to find the truth behind the Department of National Park's demolition of luxury resorts in Wang Nam Khiew after receiving complaints from owners.
"We have to await the result of an investigation by the committee chaired by Thongthong," Preecha said. "It is a fact-finding investigation".
However, Preecha said shortly after that while most resort owners were protected by a temporary injunction from the Administrative Court, Department of National Parks staff demolished the nine buildings following a court order under |the 1961 National Parks Act, Article 22.
WILLING TO ACCEPT ORDER
Damrong said: "I've heard about these rumours since last week - that I would be moved to other agencies. I don't know the real reason but I would accept the order if it is true.
"A lot of people told me that I reacted too strongly by leading a group of DNP staff to demolish big resorts located at Thab Lan National Park last week.
"If this is the real reason behind an order to move me out of my post, it was really not fair for a hard-working person like I," he said.
Damrong is due to retire from his position in two months. His work has mostly focused on wildlife and fighting illegal encroaching on forests.
"I won't be sad for what I've done," he said.
Chote Trachoo, a permanent secretary of Natural Resource and Environment Ministry, also denied the report, saying he had not seen any official letter to move Damrong from his position.
Thongthong, meanwhile, told The Nation he had not seen any official letter appointing him as the head of a fact-finding committee over Damrong's move to demolish resorts in national park areas.
"I just know from the newspaper that the Cabinet appointed me as chairman to investigate Damrong's action," he said.