Taopoon/Purple Line Controversy 2005

Tussle between Taopoon people vs. MRTA continues as a political football - translated and summarized from Thairath, August 27, 2005
Gen. Kittsak has responded to the MRTA Governor's remark on Gen. Kittisak as the henchman for Democrats since he has worked as an aid de camp of the PM Office during the administration of Former PM Chuan Leekphai (Democrat) from 1997 to 2000. He says that "Khun Chuan is a very good man to run both the PM Office and Kalahom [Ministry of Defense]. He never abused his power of which I can testify. Therefore, no distraction from Taopoon controversy please!"
Gen. Kittisak also claimed that elevated track mass transit are no longer constructed [which is totally false--look at the Megatren of Manila as a good example].

MRTA refusing to conduct an EIA - translated and summarized from Thairath, August 25, 2005
After the discussion between Gen Kittisak along with 14 representatives from Taopoon people and the Senate Environmental Committee led by Senator Kaeosan Atiphothi at 4pm on August 24, Gen Kittisak pointed out that MRTA has never explained to the local people about this project at all and they refuse to perform an updated EIA on this project. MRTA simply used the outdated data for 1997 as the way to implement the project even though the first 4-km of the Purple Line goes up against the 113 sq-km restriction within the Ratchada Ring Road.
Gen. Kittisak has sent the plea of local people to MP offices and PM's Office, but their plea has been thrown to MOTC and OTP which sides with MRTA by insisting that the Purple
Line must be all elevated track for 23 km, not 4-km underground.
Senator Kaeosan has responded that since both those who have the land expropriated and those who live along the tracks, but did not have their land expropriated have worried about the detrimental effect of elevated tracks on the environment in the same way as those who live in Saphan Kwai, they should sent more information about the environment at Saphan kwai while asking for a Court Order to temporary suspend of the project until the EIA is updated. Failure to perform EIA would allow the suspension of the Purple Line project.

Taopoon communities split - Few protesters after the core organizers agree with MRTA's compromises - translated and summarized from Thairath, August 18, 2005
After General Kittisak and other core protesters of the elevated tracks have agreed with MRTA compromises, the protesting has receded to such extend that virtually nobody comes to protest against the MRTA project. This is due to the fact that most of buildings in Taopoon area are commercial rows for rent, not residential areas as Taksin Center. Therefore only a few local people still stand up against MRTA.
A few who still protest (most are those who used to live in Saphan Kwai) have pointed out that they have seen the detrimental effects from elevated tracks of BTS--noise pollution and microparticle pollution.

Settlement on Purple Line controversies - translated and summarized from Than Setthakij, August 14-17, 2005
MRTA is planning to settle with local people along Nonthaburi Road by setting up commercial space under stations as well as commercial buildings near the stations as the compensation with a 10-year lease-free period in addition to the payment of land at market price or better. MRTA Governor feels sure that the MRTA Board would approve this compensation.
However, MRTA board feels worried about the new design of stations and tracks to minimize land expropriation. This plan would jeopardize security and public safety due to obstruction during evacuation from commercial areas. The new track design also causes longer evacuation routes and is very bad from public safety viewpoints.

Renewed push for ads, shops at stations - Bangkok Post, July 25, 2005
...If given the green light, the MRTA planned to build small convenience stores on empty space at the entrances of all 18 stations and ticket booths in some popular stations.
"Such convenience stores would hardly generate a profit for the MRTA, but we will develop them for our customers' sake,'' he said...

Purple Line issues still need a PM decision - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 13, 2005
After discussions between OTP, MRTA and protesters from Bangkok-Nonthaburi Road led by Gen Kittisak Rattnaorasoed, OTP said,"Those people who have their land expropriated should have another discussion on July 14 so as to gather data to be submitted to Premier Thaksin on July 16."
The MRTA Governor said, "Elevated tracks require 200 square wah for the gate while underground stations require at least 400 square wah to collect the soil during the construction of the tunnel, another 200 square wah for ventilators and another 120-15 square wah for ventilators between each station."
The solution for this case to to allow local people to walk around the 400 square wah area as the substitute for the outright land expropriation.
Gen Kittsak retorted back to both MRTA governor and OTP that the local people want to know how MRTA is going to deal with the local people about the construction issue, not what MRTA is going to give local people during the construction.
There are still some unresolved issues which can be described as follows:
1) What is the criteria for the decision as to whether this line should be underground or elevated tracks?
2) It seems to them that the 1994 cabinet resolution on 87 square km area within the Ratchada Ring is useless because it is not being enforced to be underground track. Why Tao Poon-Wongbsawang people do not deserve underground track as those who live along the Ring?
3) Why the section from Tao Poon to Rat Boorata has 14 underground sections with the section from Mahaisawan to Dao Khanong still underground track despite the fact that the track is out of Ratchada Ring after passing Mahaisawan Intersection?
Gen. Kittsak said they would not listen to any other people who suffer from the delays of the project, they would listen only to the solution for themselves. They have asked Khun Khanin Bunsuwan to draft a legal letter to the Administrative Court to nullify land expropriation If the Administration Court rejects their plea, they will send an appeal to His Majesty at Klai Kangwon Palace.

The worsening controversies on Purple Line - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 14, 2005
Protesters feel convinced that they have to get the new alliance to prevent a counterattack from those Bang Yai-Nonthaburi people as well as other Bangkokians.
Therefore, they told those who live in Bang Pho Bang Oh, Bang Phlat, Pinklao, Phrannok and Tha Phra to join with them to go against the elevated tracks of both Blue Ring and Purple Line since they are not satisfied with any explanations from MRTA.

Qualification of contractors for the Purple Line - translated and summarized from Dailynews, July 8, 2005
The eligible contractors for Purple Line--three contracts--either single companies or joint ventures--must be Thai firms or joint ventures with Thai firms as the main contractor.
Three contracts on Purple Line
1) Bangsue - Phra Nan Klao [10 billion baht]
2) Phra Nanklao - Bang Yai [10 billion baht]
3) Bang Yai Depot and Bang Yai Park and Ride [5 billion baht]
The qualified form for the first two contracts would be either a single Thai company with revenue more than 3 billion baht from the 2002-2004 period while the joint venture requires the minimum revenue of more than 5 billion baht in 2002-2004 with revenue of the main contractor of at least 3 billion baht at the same period.
The third contract would be either a single Thai company with revenue more than 1.5 billion baht from the in 2002-2004 period while the joint venture requires minimum revenue of more than 2.5 billion baht in 2002-2004 with the revenue of the main contractor of at least 1.5 billion baht in the same period.
The qualified companies would have to make an e-auction so as to get winners and the signing of the contract in early 2006.

Purple Line controversies: No end in sight - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 12, 2005, Matichon, July 12, 2005, and Dailynews, July 12, 2005
There was a seminar at Richmond Hotel [Nonthaburi] on the Purple line to Bang Yai with 400 people attending including 30 people from Bang Buathong who go up against the delay created by those who live in Taopoon-Wong Sawang-Tiwanon.
There are two designs for elevated 16 stations. One is a regular design like BTS while there are four stations with special designs.
1) Bang Ploo [gateway to Bang Buathong]
2) Saphan Phranangklao [with a connection to Phra Nanklao pier in Bang Buathong side of Chao Phraya]
3) Bang Son [interchange with Southern Railway]
4)Tao Poon [Interchange with Blue Ring]
There will be four park and ride facilities at the following stations:
1) Klong Bang Phai Terminal - 1800 cars
2) Bang Yai Intersection - 1772 cars
3) Tha It - 1244 cars
4) Nonthaburi 1 - 470 cars
Klong Bang Phai terminal would be a maintenance center for this line and carry 461,000 passengers a day with 40,000 passengers/hour.
Land Expropriation for the track construction:
Section 1: The Gate of Janthimathanee Village, Kanchanaphisek road [400 m - 2.5 rai]
Section 2: Bang Yai - Rattanathibet Intersection [600 m - 6.6 rai]
Section 3: Phra Nangklao Bridge - 5.1 Rai
Section 4: Rattanathibet - Tiwanon - 700 m - 7.9 Rai
Section 5: Tiwanon Intersection - 650 m - 3.9 Rai
Section 6: Pracharat 2 - Tesco Lotus Prachachuen - 1100 m - 9 Rai
Land Expropriation for 16 stations
1) Taopoon - 5.2 Rai
2) Bang Son - 3 Rai
3) Wong Sawang 3.5 Rai
4) Tiwanon - 3.6 Rai
5) MOPH [Rewadee] - 4.2 Rai
6) Sri PornSawan - 3 Rai
7) Nonthaburi 1 - 1.9 Rai
8) Tha It - 2.4 Rai
9) Talad Bang Yai - 2 Rai
The Bang Phai Depot needs land expropriation of 1663.5 rai with the following expense
1) 4.082 billion baht for land expropriation
2) 1.882 billion baht for building compensation
3) 9.500 billion baht for the depot and maintenance center
The opinions about the Purple Line controversies can be seen here.
The survey of the route will be started by the end of July 2005 so as to start construction in early 2006.

Taopoon controversy needs court settlement - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 11, 2005 and Matichon, July 11, 2005
Taopoon people have decided that they would no longer listen to any explanation from MRTA as well as OTP since both are not going to listen to their pleas anyway.
Therefore, they have to ask the Administrative Court to nullify the Royal Decree for the land expropriation despite of opposition from those who live in Nonthaburi and Bangyai who long for the quick mass transit implementation.
Note: Taopoon people would prefer tracks proposed by the Democrats in 1994-1995 over those proposed by TRT in 2004. The only difference is that the first 4-km has to be underground or they would oppose the implementation of the Purple Line.

Traffic Police supporting Taopoon people for a 4 km underground track - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 5, 2005
The continuing protest against the elevated track at Taopoon-Wongsawang area have got another ally for Taopoon people--the Traffic Police Chief.
The Traffic Police Chief said he agrees with Taopoon people about this issue due to the different results between elevated tracks vs. underground track. Police have much less headache for traffic management when tracks are underground due to the fact that underground tracks requite blocking only at the gates while the elevated track requires the closure of traffic lanes.
If the budget allows, underground track is a better deal. Only in the case where the underground tracks cost too much that elevated tracks will become the only option. The Traffic Police Chief said the commercial development is the main source of
Note: It seems to me that many people have rejected commercial development inside the stations despite the fact that commercial activities generate only about 5-10% of revenue--yet it makes the stations more likable. Just look at the Subway Station in Tokyo compared with the subway station in New York and London...

No Park and Ride for Purple Line except at Bang Yai depot - translated and summarized from Dailynews, July 6, 2005
After the continuing friction between MRTA and local people from Taopoon to Tiwanon for the 4-km underground track with the interchange at Bangsue instead of at Taopoon, MRTA told the press that MRTA needs to expropriate the land of 12 sections for 3 stations, 800 square wah (2 rai) for each station since local people do not want a park and ride at the first 3 stations. The stations are also 17-19 meters from the ground.

Three irregularities on the Purple Line: Rushing, more expensive than BTS, no public hearing - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 2, 2005
Local Taopoon people are going to make a second protest after getting the message it is the government's policy that MRTA has to implement. Only government could change the policy to meet local people's demands.
At this time, protesters are going to discuss at Bowornphan School near Taopoon Intersection at 10am on Sunday, July 3, 2005 to pressure the government to comply with the 1994 cabinet resolutions.
The studies from the Transportation Committee of the parliament on November 23, 1994 stated that the elevated section along Bangkok-Nonthaburi Road (Taopoon-Tiwanon) would disrupt the fire fighters' activities if there is a fire. It could create traffic crisis and hurt businesses in the long run.
1) The first irregularity is: Why did the government chooses this line first? This line is a much less important lines that the one that will go through Rattankosin Island.
2) The second irregularity: No public hearing from MRTA despite the obligation for MRTA to set up three public hearings for local people in early 2005. They just got a public hearing for those in Bang Yai, Bang Buathogn and Nonthaburi, but no public hearing for those who live in the Taopoon-Wongsawang area.
3) The third irregularity: Cost overrun - Taking much more budget/km than BTS despite the fact that BTS is within the CBD which is supposed to be more expensive than MRTA which goes into the suburb area of Bang Yai.

OTP points out that Bangsue-Taopoon-Wongsawang can be underground - Cost cutting is the main cause for all elevated tracks - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 29, 2005
OTP has explained to ThaiRath correspondents that even though the section from Bangsue to Wong Sawang should be an underground section according to the 1994 cabinet resolution, the actual implementation can be readjusted according to the need.
The elevated sections cost MRTA 2 billion baht/km while the underground section cost MRTA 6 billion baht/km. Therefore, MRTA is compelled to all-elevated track to save the budget, reasonable for the lines to suburb areas.
Much of the Yellow LRT Line as well as the Orange Line [both to be handled by MRTA] have become underground track due to the fact that both have to pass through the heavy traffic along Lad Phrao Road and Ram Khamhaeng Road--much heavier than the traffic along Krung Thep-Nonthaburi Road.

Taopoon people revolt! Setting up four protesting centers - translated and summarized from Thairath, July 4, 2005
After the meeting of the local people at Bowornphon School at 10am on July 3, 2005, Gen. Kittisak Ratprasoed (the coordinator) told (or instigated) the local people during 2-hour lecture to "Post More Banners! Never Become Frightened by Public Pressure from other Bangkokians! If you Back Down, Our Rights will be Forfeited! Even Utterly Defeat by Cornering through Sheer Forces, We just do our best."
After that, they set up four protest centers at Taopoon, Bang Son, Wongsawang and Tiwanon [all the 4 stations to be pressured to become underground] to "educate" (or brainwash if you are in the opposite side) local people about the detrimental effects of the project.
They have sent petition to Premier Thaksin three times and got no response and the are going to make a 4th petition to Premier Thaksin and OTP on July 12 and to OTP on July 15, after the meeting on July 5.
Gen. Kittisak said the local people want the government's response on the following irregularities:
1) Government already made heavy investment on Bangsue Station but why they still have to invest on Taopoon Interchange Station, is it a waste of money? Have OTP been to Taopoon area at all and to see what should be actually be done?
2) Traffic jams from 5:30am. The 17 meter wide road will become 13 meter wide road after the construction of elevated tracks worsening the traffic jam in their areas which the trucks carrying wooden products have to pass through.
3) During the construction of the elevated tracks of BTS, there is no land expropriation, so they will ask for no land expropriation - even the size of pinhead - in the same way as BTS has done if the government shows a clear policy supporting the elevated tracks.
4) Since there is no problem for the construction of underground track, why don't they choose underground tracks for their area?

New elevated section planned - Bangkok Post, July 5, 2005
The Transport Ministry plans to extend the subway system from Bang Sue to Bang Yai in Nonthaburi within four years, but the extended section will be elevated to save costs and construction time.
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) may select a contractor for the 23km extension through an e-auction before the end of this year.
Construction could then start next year and be completed in 2009...

Asking Premier Thaksin to pressure MRTA to make the line underground - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 28, 2005
Mr. Manoj Tengmaneewirat (the former member of the BMA City Council - the leader for the opposition of all-elevated tracks of Purple Line) told Thairath correspondents that the discussion with the MRTA governor yields no result at all because they do not want any land expropriation--even land the size of a pinhead. Thus, he and his friends have signed a petition to Premier Thaksin and the Transportation Committee to review this project to make 4-km an underground track.

Trouble with local people intensifies - Fuel hike compelling MRTA to raise the ticket price - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 27, 2005
After the discussion at Wat Soeng Wai School about the Purple Line matter, the discussion turns venomous and both MRTA and local people have traded jeers with full venom--both sides refuse to listen to one another.
MRTA is insisting the 23 km be all elevated tracks while the local people along Bangkok-Nonthaburi road insist 4-km be an underground section.
MRTA has explained to local people that the first 20-km all underground track cost MRTA 110 billion baht and another 4 km underground track would add 20-30 billion Baht extra cost form the 46 billion baht which is for all elevated tracks This kind of selfishness of local people along Bangkok-Nonthaburi Road would prevent those who live in Bang Yai suburbs from getting the Subway since all the 46 billion baht budget would go into the 7-km underground tracks.
MRTA needs to expropriated 94 parcels of land (2000 square wah= 5 rai) for Taopoon interchange station, 30 parcels of land (800 square wah = 2 rai) and 21 patches of land at Wong Sawang Station (800 square wah = 2 rai) and the details can be seen at MRTA Head Office.
Furthermore, the station is 360 meters long and 17 meters above the ground and would not create the tunnel effect as those who live in Saphan Kwai have claimed.
However, those who live in Taopoon have been brainwashed by those from Saphan Kwai whose business have been ruined by the Skytrain as well as other Democrat politicians who got no benefit from the Skytrain so those local people of Taopoon-Bang Son-Wong Sawang would never listen to any explanation from MRTA.
Note: Those who live in Saphan Kwai have voted for a Democrat MP and those who live in Taopoon have voted Democrat for BMA City Council and it is possible that Democrats have planned to sabotage the Purple Line since the Taksin and Samrong Skytrain extensions have been rejected by TRT since 2001. Thus Democrats have come up with the tactic of "if we cannot get what we want, you will never get what you want!" This kind of political dirty tactic would leave Bangkokians without mass transit extensions.
Furthermore, MEA has raised the FT price by 3.55 satang per unit due to the continuing fuel price hike, forcing MRTA to consider raising the ticket prices unless MEA agrees to sell electricity without the extra FT price.

Taopoon - Underground work more disruptive than elevated tracks - translated and summarized from Dailynews, June 25, 2005 and Manager Daily, June 26, 2005
MRTA Governor told the correspondences from Dailynews and Manager Daily that MRTA has finished the preliminary criteria for the contractors to work on Bangsue-Bang Yai line which is going to be approved by the MRTA Board on July 6. If the criteria is approved, MRTA will call an e-auction by the end of this year and MRTA has sent letters to landowners about land expropriation along the route and it is going to send another letter this July to explain to the public about this land expropriation issue.
MRTA has responded to the protesters for this project who are asking for 4-km underground section from Bang Sue to Tiwanon that: "The underground section requites more space than the elevated section since Taopoon is to become an interchange station. People would suffer from the construction of the underground section than an elevated section."
"Furthermore, the government has a policy to speed up this project to be done in 3 years. This project requires the budget of 46 billion baht for 21-23 km for all elevated tracks. If they want underground track, the 46 billion baht would cover only the first 7 km and MRTA needs at least 40-50 billion to cover the rest. Even other countries have to construct elevated tracks outside CBDs--no underground tracks as other people have misunderstood."
"MRTA has to ensure that the construction of elevated tracks would have very minimal effect on environment and the elevated tracks would not collapsed."

Protesting for Bangsue-Bang Yai elevated track intensified - translated and summarized from Manager Daily, June 27, 2005
Local people and merchants around Bangsue-Taopoon are protesting the elevated tracks of Purple Line by claiming the old buildings worthy to be preserved. However, MRTA governor is trying to explain to the public that MRTA needs to expropriate buildings and the houses only for installing the escalators and elevators at the first three stations. However, the local people refuse to listen due to the instigation from those who live in Saphan kwai who suffer from BTS. Therefore, they have signed the petition to MP Lalita Roeksamran for this matter which has boiled into conflict.

Those who live in Taopoon asking MRTA for the land expropriation Issue - Lalita leading the issue for the underground track in the area - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 25, 2005
Mr Manot Tengmaneewatthana (the leader of protests against the elevated track) has told Thairath that he and his friends have received the letters from TRT MP Lalita Roeksamran which ask local people to listen to the explanations from MRTA about the Purple Line issue at Wat Soengwai School on Sunday June 26, 2005 at 1pm.
Therefore, Mr Manot is asking local people to discuss and express their viewpoints with MRTA governor about this issue.
Note: MP Lalita is going to face a dilemma--pleasing local people would means she can be kicked out of TRT. By pleasing TRT and pushing for speedy implementation of the Purple Line, she would alienate the voters.
If local people from Bangsue to Tiwanon discover that they would have to pay 20-30 billion baht extra for 4-5 km underground tracks with a 2-3 year delay, they may have to think twice about the issue.

MRTA explaining to Taopoon People about Elevated Purple Line - translated and summarized from Matichon, June 23, 2005 and Prachachat Thurakij, June 23-26, 3005
The local people from Taopoon to Tiwanon have opposed elevated tracks for the Purple Line since they are afraid of pollution, the blocking of their shops, and ruining their business.
However, MRTA has retorted that the line should still be elevated since MRTA has modified the tracks and come up with slimmer tracks than BTS. Only 1060 sections of the land and 640 houses from Bang Yai to Bangsue will have to be expropriated.
Furthermore, MRTA has responded to the protesters as follows:
1) MRTA needs to declare a Royal Decree on May 6, 2005 to grab land in a 100 meter radius from the center of the road, 300-600 meters for the curve and allow the construction of a wide curve. The land survey will be started in July 2005.
2) MRTA elevated track will be 17 meters above the ground with a 40 meter span and 2 meter wide pillars compared with 12-14 meters from ground a 25 meter span and 3-5 meter wide pillar for the Skytrain. This should allow better ventilation and minimization of obstruction. This will allow parking at the spaces between pillars.
3) No commercial areas within stations. Only passengers area are allowed.
4) Underground sections would take more space to be expropriated to install drilling machines.
Those who live in Bang Buathong, Bang Yai and Nonthaburi have sharpened machetes and sticks to thrash people from Bangsue - Bangson - Wongsawang area who have obstructed and delayed the project for their own greedy interests.
Underground track would even double the construction bill and delay the project despite strong demands from those people from Nonthaburi - Rattanathibet - Bang Yai.
The list of land expropriation can be as follows:
1) Bang Phai Station and Depot, Bang Ploo and Bang Rak Yai - 448 sections with 102 buildings
2) Talad Bang Yai station and Bang Yai Intersection with Park and Ride - 33 sections with 28 buildings
3) Tha It Station, Sai Mah Park and Ride, Phra Nan Klao, Nonthaburi 1 Park and Ride, Sri Porn Sawan, Nonthaburi Bureaucrat office, Satharanasuk [Rewadee], and Tiwanon Station and the track to Wongsawang ->372 sections and 331 buildings.
4) Wongsawang,Bang Son and Tao Poon interchange station -> 207 sections with 199 buildings.

Elevated track from Taopoon to Wong Sawang violating cabinet resolution - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 24, 2005
Thairath correspondents said that when the construction of the Skytrain started in 1993, there was a protest against the construction of elevated tracks which resulted in a cabinet resolution in May 17, 1994 that:
1) 25 square-km covering Victory Monument, Silom, Dusit, Yoawaraj, Rattanakosin Island, Old Thonburi must be underground tracks
2) the other 87 square-km between Ratchada Ring and 25 square-km restriction area should be underground track.
BTS is exempt due to the contract signing before the cabinet resolution.
Therefore, the section from Bangsue to Wongsawang should be compiled with the cabinet resolution by becoming underground tracks.
In Samut Prakarn Civic Center on June 23, Deputy Governor Samart explaining to 300 local people about the extension from Onnut to Samrong (8.9 km) and Samrong to Pak Nam (10 km) by using elevated tracks.
Even though there is the consensus that there must be mass transit systems through these areas, many such as Mayor Boonlue Phetbodee (Samrong Nuea Municipal) still argue that this route must be underground as it passes their downtown sections because it is very bad assumption by BMA that Samut Prakarn is still rural area so elevated section is okay. Many local people in Samut Prakarn argue that they are a downtown area so it must be underground.
Furthermore, they ask for no commercial area [no advertising and other commercial activities] allowed within the stations areas once the extension passes into Samut Prakarn so it will not hurt their local businesses.
Compensation for any damage to infrastructure and buildings along the route as well as the results from infrastructure removal during the construction must be paid back to Samrong and Samut Prakarn Municipality in full.

Asking TRT PM Lalita and the Democrat BMA City Council: "Keep the 4-km Bangsue-Wongsawang route underground" - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 23, 2005
Local people from Taopoon to Wongsawang are asking their MP (Dr. Lalita Roeksamran - TRT - now Deputy House Speaker) and their representatives in the BMA City Council of Bangsue district (Miss Pornphimon Kongudom - Democrat - daughter of Senator Chatchawan Kongudom) to pressure Premier Thaksin and Minister Suriya to put the first 4-km section as underground track.
Initially, the BMA City Council Member Pornphimon said this line was proposed since 1995, but it has been proposed again in 2004 as elevated tracks which frightened local people so she asked her father (Senator Chatchawan Kognudom) to pressure the government to rectify this problem by constructing the first 4-km section [Bangsue - Wongsawang - Tiwanon] as underground tracks. The other 19 km would still be elevated track.
However, Mr. Somphong Kengrungruengchai (TRT - member of BMA City Council from Bangsue) said there are so few protesters and he suspect the evil motivation of local people which causes this late protesting. He even asks the local people who protest to listen to those people from Nonthaburi who long for a mass transit line.
Commentary by Wisarut: It is likely that the government would keep the original all-elevated track intact. The raid at the casino in Taopoon has already hurt Senator Chatchawan's business and there is speculation that there will be further problems for Senator Chatchawan and Democrat representatives on the BMA City Council since both are up against Premier Thaksin and Minister Suriya's plans.

Land expropriation at Taopoon intersection for the 4-floor Purple Line interchange station - Will pass Tesco Lotus at the expense of Taopoon Flea Market - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 22, 2005
According to the report about the local protest against the elevated track of Purple Line Subway [Bangsue - Bang Yai], Thairath correspondents have found that the Purple Line will go from the end of the Blue line with a gradient climbing from Siam Cement, passing Tesco Lotus and following Pracharat Sai 1 road to Taopoon intersection.
There will be an interchange station at Taopoon intersection for the Blue Ring and Purple Line in the same way as Siam Station--a 4-floor interchange station.
This interchange station requires the space at all corners of the intersection and land expropriation of commercial buildings, schools, houses and Taopoon Flea Market is a must to allow supporting pillars to carry the interchange station covering the whole Taopoon intersection with a length of 300-400 meters.
After that, the track will turn right to follow Bangkok-Nonthaburi Road to Bang Son, Wong Sawang, Tiwanon, Khae Rai, Rattnathibet and end up at Bang Yai. There will be four stations within the BMA area such as:
1) Taopoon interchange station
2) Bang Son Station (connecting with the Southern Line Commuter)
3) Wong Sawang
4) Tiwanon [Not exactly within BMA area but it is very closed to the BMA boundary pole]
This will require land expropriation at Bangkok Textile Factory, Krung Thai Bank [Bang Son], and other buildings nearby.
Mr Manot Tengmaneerat [representative for local people of Bang Son] said he is collecting signatures of those who are going to suffer from this project to be submitted to the Bangsue District Office, BMA, MOTC and Premier Thaksin--step by step so as to get the sympathy from the government. Even though the construction has not started yet, local people along the route have suffered from the stress from this project.
They would prefer underground track all the way to the BMA border pole so there will be no blocking from pillars and stations at the front of their homes and shops. Otherwise, their business would be ruined.

Bangsue-Bang Yai must be elevated - MRTA expropriating every 700 meters for stairs to stations - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 21, 2005
The elevated section of the subway from Bangsue to Bangyai has met with opposition from local people. They are asking MRTA to construct that section as subway track until the tracks pass their communities from Bangsue all the way to Tawanon Intersection [the borderline with Nonthaburi]. Banner there read:
"NO Elevated Tracks on Bangsue Area PLEASE!"
"Premier Thaksin - Please Don't be RUDE to US Again"
"Please MRTA, Give My Dad Some Mercy - We Don't want Suffer from Elevated Tracks!"
Those protesting banners have shown up from Tao Poon to Tiwanon where the Purple Line will go and be ready to start construction in 2006 and be done in 2008.
The following is an interview with the local people who oppose the elevated tracks of the Purple Line.
Mr. Sawit Jiraratthkorn (65 years old) - owner of Sawat Land Electrical Appliances in Bangsue District said: "Elevated Tracks would have very harmful effects on my shop in the same way as my chaps who sell the electrical appliances at Saphan Kwai where the elevated tracks of the Skytrain go through. Sales are much worse selling along very narrow roads. Customers cannot park cars along the road. Even worse, being smoked alive as my peers at Saphan Kwai under the Skytrain tracks."
Mr. Samroeng Jai Ngam (40 years old) said: "The elevated tracks cause narrower roads by 2-3 lanes ... the front of my shop will be obstructed. Customers will run away. Where are we going to live since our shops are going to be expropriated? Some have not finished their installment payments on their building yet! Better come up with a subway instead... "
Mr Chet Trakarnwutthiphongse (38 years old) - owner of Trakarn Korsarng construction material shop said: "Even though this mass transit system is a must-have project, it would be much better if the first four km tracks are subway until it passes the Bangkok border pole. We never thought that there will be the elevated track through our area [due to misleading PR from MRTA which telling the residents since 1995 that it would be an underground subway]."
"After recognizing that this project is an elevated track, our folks around Bangsue-Wang Sawang get worried about a bleaker future after land expropriation from Tao Poon all the way to Soi Ruam Sirichai in Nonthaburi [near Tiwanon Road]. Bangkok-Nonthaburi road is 18-meters wide, but the station is 24-meters wide and 300 meters long. Therefore, the land expropriation for the station areas every 700 meters is a big must, but where are people going to work after their shops are gone for good? No clear answer is coming out of MRTA's PR dept. Conflict of interest between those who live in Nonthaburi and those who live in Tao Poon-Wongsawang area is going to explode sooner or later!"
Ms.Rangsiya Santiwatthanachaikul (42 years old) - the owner of Tai Yong Huad Wood Shop along Bangkok Nonthaburi Road said: "I could see a very bleak future for our area in the same way as the Saphan Kwai area after elevated tracks become a reality. Most shops will close due to narrow roads as we cannot park trucks to carry the wood for construction materials. MRTA better come up with a subway where it passes our area."
The protesters' banners are much the same as in case of the controversial Lad Phrao Elevated Way in 2004 which forced the government to come up with the Yellow LRT line as a substitute.
Commentary by Wisarut: For the case of the Lad Phrao Elevated way, the local people of Lad Phrao got support from other Bangkokians who have strong hostility toward elevated ways.
However, I afraid that those who live from Bangsue to Tiwanon Road would get much less support from other Bangkokians because they badly want subway extensions at the cheapest cost and fastest implementation.

More politics in mass transit: OTP plans to solve the conflict on the tunnel-elevated sections of the subway - translated and summarized from Thairath, June 7, 2005
OTP is asking to BMA to review the BMA tunnel at the Phrannok intersection and Bommraj Chonnanee intersection so as to allow space for the construction of the elevated Blue Ring Line (Bangsue - Charansanitwongse - Tha Phra) and ask BMA to construct pillars for the Blue Ring near both tunnels.
OTP is asking BMA to review the tunnel plan at Mahaisawan Intersection as well as modify the constructed Rama 2 Flyover so as to allow the Purple Line to go through without problem. Mahaisawan tunnel should be handled by MRTA so as to leave the space for Mahaisawan Station without problems since Mahaisawan Station must be underground while Dao Khanong station of the Purple Line must be an elevated station.
For the case of the Yellow Line LRT (Lad Phrao - Happyland - Sri Nakharin - Samrong) and Pink Monorail (Pakkret - Chaeng Watthana - Ram Indra - Minburi), OTP is asking for 394 million baht budget so as to coordinate the Yellow Line LRT with the expressway along Sri Nakharin and the Lum Salee Interchange. OTP would come up with the preliminary design.
Commentary by Wisarut: This is clearly a political football by asking BMA to construct the elevated section of Blue Line as well as modifying Mahaisawan tunnel for the underground section of the Purple Line and Rama 2 Flyover for elevated section of the Purple Line to please TRT while halting Samrong Extension as the way to punish both BMA and BTS.
Sooner or later, the conflicts between BMA and OTP will turn into a full-scale war. The plan for the Yellow LRT as a part of Sri Nakharin Expressway shown the very explicit insincerity of OTP in solving traffic problems. Constructing the expressway would draw people from the mass transit option. The Lum Salee Interchange plan is meant to harm The Mall Bangkapi [the owners are supporters of the Democrats). The same can be said about the halting of the Taksin Extension to Phetkasem and Blue ring to Mahaisawan so as not to support The Mall Tha Phra.
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