Monday, September 6, 2010

Adjoining municipalities with same name

As in the past, municipalities and sanitary districts only covered the densely populated areas, and often inherited the name from the subdistrict they are located. The remaining area of the subdistrict then became a subdistrict administrative organization (TAO) in the second half of the 1990s, so there are a lot of local administrative units sharing their name. As long as the two were on a completely different level the two are not that easy to confuse, but now recently many of the TAO got upgraded to subdistrict municipalities. In case the original municipality is still a subdistrict municipality, the newly upgraded one has to receive a new name, like e.g. TAO Wiang Sa in Surat Thani has been renamed to Mueang Wiang on its upgrade, to avoid confusion with the municipality Wiang Sa.

However, when the municipality has town status, this renaming is not done in all cases, as the full name includes the status and thus the subdistrict municipality Sattahip (เทศบาลตำบลสัตหีบ) and the town municipality Sattahip (เทศบาลเมืองสัตหีบ) have different full names. While it is therefore not ambiguous, it quickly becomes a problem once the reference is not dated. Sattahip town was upgraded in 2007, so "subdistrict municipality Sattahip (เทศบาลตำบลสัตหีบ)" means today's town if the text is from before 2007, or it means the former TAO if its from after 2008.

At least for the case of Sattahip, it was tried to avoid this confusion. In the board where the upgrade of the TAO was decided, the new municipality was planned to be named Khet Udom Sak (เทศบาลตำบลเขตอุดมศักดิ์). However this name wasn't approved by the naming board in its meeting 3/2008, so the new municipality wasn't renamed at all. Only just recently this was rectified, though not yet officially announced. Yet Sattahip isn't the only case where it has the adjoining municipalities with the same name and only different municipal levels.
  • Sattahip, Chonburi - the town was created in 2007, the new subdistrict municipality in 2008.
  • Ban Phru, Songkhla - the town was created in 2002, the new subdistrict municipality in 2007.
  • Ban Chang, Rayong - the town was created in 2005, the new subdistrict municipality in 2007.
There were three more cases, where the TAO was already scheduled for upgrade last year, but then it wasn't found in the list of TAO actually upgraded - Mae Phrik in Lampang, Makha in Nakhon Ratchasima and Dok Khamtai in Phayao.

Even more confusiing is the subdistrict municipality Nong Phai in Udon Thani (เทศบาลตำบลหนองไผ่), of which there are two, one in Mueang Udon Thani district and one in Nong Han district. All other cases where there are more than one municipality with the same name and level, these are in different provinces, but in this case one has to add the district. But for example in the geocode list of DOPA this wasn't done, so I have no idea which of the codes 4168 and 4167 belong to which municipality.

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