Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ko Tao district proposed

The Thai language news portal of the Department of Public Relations of the Thai government yesterday had an interesting short article, apparently a new district is about to be proposed. As it wasn't found in the English language section, nor have the English newspaper picked up the issue yet, I have to do the translation myself.
Surat Thani province prepares to propose to the cabinet to change administrative status of Ko Tao to District Ko Tao, in order to be more comfortable for the citizen, improve tourism and develop the area to be more effective.

Thirayut Iamtrakun (นายธีระยุทธ เอี่ยมตระกูล), province governor of Surat Thani, disclosed that in the roaming cabinet meeting in Southern Thailand to be held in Phuket in March 2012 the province will ask for approval by the cabinet to set up Ko Tao as a new district, to split from Ko Pha Ngan district. To enhance and support the strategy of the city of good people Surat Thani, including to make it easy for citizen in remote areas to travel to contact with government service conveniently. Additionally, to enhance tourism and develop the area to be more and more efficient.

Ko Tao is an area of about 21 square kilometer or 13,125 rai, mostly hills near the sea, 45 kilometer away from the district [office] Ko Pha Ngan. Divided into one subdistrict and three village and a population of 1706. Most moved there from Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui, to make a living in tourism and in services around tourism, as Ko Tao is an important tourist attraction, famous for diving in coral reefs.
[ThaiNews Network, 2012-02-05]
The rules to set up a district could allow the creation of a Ko Tao district (อำเภอเกาะเต่า), as tourism development is mentioned as a major exception from the minimum number of subdistrict.

However, with just 1700 citizen it will be a very small district - even smaller than the currently smallest district Ko Kut in Trat province, which has 2253 citizen in two subdistricts. Since the minor districts (King Amphoe) are no longer existing as a second level of districts, more appropriate for areas to small to get a full district but still have enough local problems to need more direct central administration, now the hurdle for a new second level administration is much higher than it was in past. It will be interesting to see what the cabinet will say about this proposal, so I will certainly pay close attention to the media reports on that Phuket meeting.

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