Dispute Over Developers' Plan To Claim Monastery Ground

(10 May) Director of the National Office of Buddhism, along with Sakon Nakhon Administration, held a meeting to find solutions to the case of registration of abandoned monastery on Donsawun island by land developers who aim to prepare a deed to reclaim the land of almost a hundred acres.

Mr.Chakrapong Wongkalasin, leadership of “Rak Nonghan” group stated that, there will be no more deed issued on Donsawun. However, because the area is listed as an abandoned temple, one of the thousands in the country, the National Office of Buddhism of Thailand has the right to decide who the land goes to.

The people are petitioning for the 105 acres of land to remain a public area where any local citizen can share, as opposed to a group of people abusing the law and gaining profits from the land.

“Donsawun needs to remain public. What we want is to remove Donsawun from the abandoned temples list so there won’t be any more problems.” Mr.Chakapong said.

Mr.Gomut Teekananon, mayor of Sakon Nakhon indicated that the municipality is responsible for Nonghan, especially Donsawun Island, area of dispute. Nonetheless, the municipality has no power whatsoever to issue a deed to the property.

Thus, he is in accordance with the locals that no deed shall be issued. However, as for the
property’s state as an abandoned monastery, Mr.Gomut stated that it is the job of the Office of Buddhism of Thailand to decide.

Our correspondent has contacted the Office of Buddhism, Sakon Nakhon, but the head of the office was away on assignment and could not be reached. Later, our correspondent has been informed that the case has been sent to the central office. Any new developments should be announced on 1 June.