Friday, November 23, 2007

Minor districts

Nearly every newly created district is at first only given the status of a minor district (กิ่งอำเภอ, King Amphoe), and gets upgraded to a full district (Amphoe) after a few years when it fulfills the criteria for a full district. This criteria are a population of 30,000 people and at least 5 subdistricts (tambon), or if the area is more than 25 km away from the district office of the parent district a population of at least 15,000 and 4 subdistricts. According to the DOPA website the minor districts have almost the same function as the full districts, only registration and firearm works are still to be done at the parent district. However as the district offices are about the most important government agencies for the common people, the creation of these minor districts helps to avoid the inconvenience of a long travel to the office in remote and sparsely populated areas.

As mentioned earlier, there were no upgrades of minor districts since 1997, so there probably was quite a backlog of minor districts already qualified as a full district. In May of this year the government decided to upgrade all the 81 minor districts, regardless of their qualification. This upgrade was officially announced in the Royal Gazette in August and got effective by that time as well. So right now the country has no minor districts anymore, but several districts which wouldn't qualify to the above mentioned criteria for many years to come, for example the island district Ko Kut with just little more than 2000 citizens. But it seems that these criteria weren't absolute in the past either, as Ko Sichang with 5000 citizens was upgraded in 1994.

What I don't know is whether this complete upgrade of all minor districts means that when a new district is created now it will become a full district directly, or it will have new minor districts then. I don't know if any of the announcements around that upgrade mention this at all, so it's just wait till the first new district shows up. Hopefully I will be the first to announce it in English with this blog then...

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