Thai railway eviction saga: Low-income residents face displacement for high-speed challenge

The ongoing story of the upcoming relocation of the Bun Romsai neighborhood, together with over 100 other residents residing alongside a railway monitor in Phaya Thai district, Thailand, continues to unfold. Having referred to as this area home for over 20 years, neighborhood leader Chao Kerdaree candidly shares insights into the upcoming eviction, which has been instigated by the State Railway of Thailand, the rightful landowner, leaving the neighborhood with no alternative however to vacate.
One can achieve entry to the Bun Romsai group alongside Phetchaburi Soi 5, situated approximately 800 metres from Phaya Thai BTS station. The neighbourhood finds itself mendacity in the path of the projected Don Mueang-Suvarnabhumi-U-Tapao high-speed rail route.
The high-speed rail venture comes with a hefty sum of 224 billion baht and serves as a key element of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme to link Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan and U-Tapao Airport in Rayong. The group main the consortium, Charoen Pokphand Group, received the contract for construction from SRT in 2019 under the name AERA1.
The Transport Ministry boasts anticipated boosts to economic growth and the creation of over a hundred,000 jobs following the project’s completion in 2029. However, land clearance is required for the challenge to progress, meaning Bun Romsai, and two different communities dwelling along the Eastern Line railway, home to approximately 300 households in whole, are set to be displaced, as directed by the SRT.
Despite having been established for over Untold , Bangkok’s methods by no means registered the Bun Romsai neighborhood as a result of community’s location on public land. According to Assistant Professor Boonlert Visetpricha, a lecturer of Sociology and Anthropology at Thammasat University, the community likely sprung up due to staff or former employees of the SRT developing dwellings on the vacant land for proximity to their workplaces, reported Bangkok Post.
Poor people seeing the opportunity to reside in the space started to construct homes as nicely. More settlers than land encroachers, these hard-working low-income earners usually sell inexpensive meals to workers, contributing important components to society, he explained.
Chao Kerdaree, who has served the Phaya Thai space as a bike taxi driver for the last 20 years, decided to settle locally when rising lease costs made residing in the capital unaffordable. His combined month-to-month earnings together with his wife, a grilled pork balls vendor, amount to roughly 20,000 baht, enough to assist their two sons, one presently in Matthayom 5 (Grade 11) and one who has graduated from a vocational college.
Following notice of eviction in January 2020, the preliminary response was resistance from locals who were left with nowhere to go. Efforts to barter resulted in some residents receiving elimination warrants from the court in 2021.
However, after a pushback from locals, SRT determined to collaborate with the Community Organisation Development Institute to construct a brand new community for displaced residents. The relocation will transfer those impacted to a low-cost housing property in Soi Mo Leng, near Makkasan Reservoir, about 2 kilometres from their current houses.
The anticipated begin date of the brand new housing project is subsequent year, with completion geared toward 2025. In the interim, locals have approached SRT requesting momentary shelters while their homes are demolished.
Several residents who choose to not reside within the low-cost housing project will receive compensation for his or her demolished houses. As per Chao, about 200 out of the 300 affected families, Bun Romsai included, have opted for this offer while the others await their new homes. Chao said…

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