Friday, March 24, 2017

Muban rename in Trat

Yesterday the name change of an administrative village (Muban) in Trat was announced in the Royal Gazette. Mu 4 of Takang subdistrict, Mueang Trat district changed its name from Ban Noen Sung (บ้านเนินสูง) to Ban Thung Bang Phet (บ้านทุ่งบางเพชร). The change was approved by the board to consider name changes in its 4th meeting of 2016 on December 29th, and forwarded to the province governor the next day with ministerial order มท ๐๒๐๕.๒/๒๓๔๒๓. The announcement was then signed by the province governor on February 10.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Emblem of Amphoe Mueang Surat Thani

As far as I know, it is only the local governments and the provinces which officially have a seal with custom design fitting to the locality. The districts however use the emblem of the Ministry of Interior as their seal - except for the district in Bangkok, which also have custom seals. As I really love these sometimes very artfully designed emblems, it is a pity the websites of the local governments seem to be the only source to get any information on them - if I had the time and the connection I would research and compile much more of them...

Anyway, when I just recently checked the website of Mueang Surat Thani district - one of the few district offices which have their own website - I was surprised to see a emblem for the district.It shows the two main symbolic buildings of the district - the City Pillar Shrine (Sala Lak Mueang) in the city center and the Si Surat Stupa on the hill south of the city. Also the palm farms in the Tapi river estuary and the small boats used in the small channels of the estuary are depicted. I have no idea whether this is just an artful emblem designed for show, or also the official seal of the district - the Google search results for the Thai term ตราประจำอำเภอ don't indicate that any district actually uses a non-standard seal, the only images it returns seem to be very old seals from districts in Ubon Ratchathani province.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Population data from 1966

Thanks to the online library of the National Statistical Office (NSO) I was already able to collect the population data from the censuses since 1960, all down to district level. Starting in 1993, the online population statistics from the registration office gives the yearly numbers down to subdistrict level. Thus I thought the only additional data I might be able to collect would be the earlier census data.

First page of 1966 report
But when I checked the eBook site of the Department of Provincial Administration in the vain hope to find a new edition of the Local Directory there, I instead found the annual population reports published in the Royal Gazette there, but to my surprise these started in 1966, and not 1993 as I thought before. Apparently, there was a change in the internal structure of the registration office - starting in 1993 the announcements were done by the Central Registration Office (สำนักทะเบียนกลาง), whereas from 1982 till 1992 the responsible office was named สำนักงานกลางทะเบียนราษฎร, and from 1966 till 1981 the announcements were done by the Ministry of Interior directly, and thus escaped my previous searches in the Royal Gazette.

So I now have to type in the numbers of these 27 announcements, training my Thai numeral recognition that way as they don't use any western numerals in these official announcements. I have already done 1966 and 1967, and in both announcements found one typo in the numbers - and since the older announcements don't include the total number for the whole country I cannot correct that mistake when translating into my XML structure. If anyone likes to use these numbers as well - they will be all in XML in the next weeks just like the 1966 XML - or could also create a Excel file if someone needs it...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Districts with just one subdistrict

There are two districts (Amphoe) in Thailand which have just one subdistrict (Tambon), and another four districts in Bangkok (Khet) which have one subdistrict (Khwaeng). As the two kinds of subdistricts are quite different in their functions, I'll write something about the Bangkok districts later.

The two districts are Ko Sichang of Chonburi province - an island off the coast - and Mae Poen in Nakhon Sawan province, a remote part of the province including mountain area. Both district have a quite different history - whereas Ko Sichang already was a minor district with just one subdistrict in 1943, when it was reassigned from Samut Prakan to Chonburi province, Mae Poen was created in 1996, and its single subdistrict Mae Poen was just created shortly before in 1992. Maybe the fact that this district was created directly at the time when the creation of new Tambon stopped altogether explains why it remained with one subdistrict. Looking into the history of other districts, there are a few more which originally had just one subdistrict when they were established as a minor district (King Amphoe).
  • Soeng Sang, Nakhon Ratchasima. Created in 1976 with the single subdistrict Sa Takhian, the second subdistrict was created in 1977. The minor district was upgraded in 1979, and today has six subdistricts.
  • Than To, Yala. Created 1975 with the single subdistrict Mae Wat, the second subdistrict was created in 1977. Today the district has four subdistricts and became a full district in 1981.
  • Pa Daet, Chiang Rai. Created in 1969 with the single subdistrict Pa Daet. In 1970, two new subdistricts were created. 1975 it was upgraded to a full district, and today it has five subdistricts.
  • Ban Kruat, Buriram. Created in 1939 with the single subdistrict Ban Kruat. As the Royal Gazette is unreliable for the subdistrict creations before 1950, I can only say the district was upgraded in 1965 and has nine subdistricts today
Interesting to note - both for Soeng Sang as well as for Pa Daet it was a subdistrict which was named after the district, and not the other way round like for most districts.

I don't know whether there were any official rules predating those defined in 2003 by the cabinet on how many subdistricts are necessary for a new minor district, but even the 2003 rules allowed to overrule the minimum of three if there is a special need for the creation of a new district.

Already before the decentralization with the creation of the Subdistrict Administrative Organizations, the Tambon had a limited local representation of the population by the elected headman. I don't know whether there were any minimum requirements for a subdistrict in terms of population of number of administrative villages, Ko Sichang with a population of less than 5000 people never qualified for a second subdistrict. But its remoteness on an island made sense to have a district office as the government office which normal citizens have to visit most.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Amphoe Kota Baru still on track

I haven't heard anything from the two planned districts to be created in Yala province since 2015, when the government news reported a confusing story which read like they were already created. But since there was no announcement in the Royal Gazette, nor the latest geocode list added any codes for these, they must be still in the pipeline. But even regular searches for any websites mention the names of these two districts return almost nothing, so it felt like the planned might have been abandoned.

But just recently, the Kota Baru municipality (เทศบาลตำบลโกตาบารู) on their Facebook page added photos from a meeting on February 17, in which the location for the new district office was discussed. Sadly, while a photo of the officials inspecting a location was added, which plot of land was inspected or whether it was chosen isn't mentioned. Though I still don't know how what is the schedule for these districts, but at least it seems they are still on track.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Lists of the administrative units

Interestingly, I was asked several times lately to provide a full list of the administrative units - sometimes down to subdistrict level, sometimes to village level - for various purposes, for example as the basis of some academic research. In one case the location was requested as well, in another the population. My full set of data is not so easy to use, as it is in XML format and contains a lot of details, and for example the population data is in different XML files than the main list. A subset of the data is found in the spreadsheet, but most notably the Muban are missing in there. But as in all cases a simple CSV file was requested, I quickly coded something to compile such lists, and since I just got yet another request, I now also made these CSV files downloadable for everyone - even I love to know when and where my data is used, for the next time I could simply point to this blog post then...

The ZIP archive contains CSV files for each of the subdivision.
  • Province.csv - all provinces and Bangkok, with their TIS-1099 code, name in English and Thai, the latest population and number of households, and the location of the province hall.
  • District.csv - all districts (Amphoe and Khet), same data with location of the district office
  • Subdistrict.csv - all sub-districts (Tambon and Khwaeng), as before. Locations are the TAO office, but still a lot without location info
  • Village.csv - all administrative villages, however without population data. Note the comments I made earlier about the number of Muban, that list might not be 100% correct. For very few the location of the village headman office (i.e. his home) is added.
If there would be the need, I could also compile the local governments in a similar manner, however as most of those have no TIS-1099 derived code, so it is not so easy to get the hierarchy like in the central administrative units, so would have to think a bit which data would be mandatory in such a CSV then.