Friday, March 19, 2010

Planned new provinces - Bueng Kan

Quite some time ago I learned by the category "Planned provinces" on the Thai Wikipedia that there quite a lot of provinces which were either in planning, discussion or had been proposed in the past. One of these is the province Bueng Kan (จังหวัดบึงกาฬ), which was supposed to cover the eastern part of Nong Khai province. But as the Wikipedia article on this proposal is very short and has almost no details, I thought this is just one old shelved proposal. In fact, the article cites as the sole reference a petition from 1994, which was published in the Royal Gazette.
Map of Bueng Kan province
Bueng Kan province and remaining Nong Khai province
But it turns out the proposal is far from being shelved, as I just found out by fluke just checking Google for any recent website with the term "จัดตั้งจังหวัด", and the latest hit was from February 5 on the website of the Nong Khai provincial police station. Searching further, an article on the website made me notice that the proposal is very active currently again.

The governor of Nong Khai, Khomsan Ekkachai (นายคมสัน เอกชัย), sent the proposal to the Ministry of Interior for consideration in January this year. If approved there, it will be sent for consideration to the cabinet, and then finally to the House of Representatives to decide on the act to create the province. According to the article, by August or September this year it should be known if the province can be created. The preconditions for creating a province are met, since the province of Nong Khai has 17 district, and the new province is supposed to cover eight. If I don't misunderstand the article, even a referendum was held in the province, which gave more than 98% approval; also most of the local government entities approved the new province. Given the very elongated shape of the province Nong Khai along the Mekong river, and the fact that the provincial capital is located quite far into the western part of the province, it makes sense to split the province into two halves just to cut the distance to the province hall significantly.

I now definitely try to have a lookout for any news on this proposal, from my naive thinking I give it a much higher chance of being implemented than the province Fang I mentioned here earlier.

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