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PM Srettha Thavisin Spearheads Trillion-Baht Andaman Land Bridge with Empathy and Progress

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Amidst the lush greens and embracing whispers of the Andaman Sea, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin set foot in the verdant expanse of Laem Son National Park situated within the tranquil Kapoe district of Ranong. With the shimmering backdrop of Government House photographers capturing the moment, our esteemed Prime Minister embarked on a tour to inspect the very cradle of what’s envisaged as nothing short of an infrastructure titan—the land bridge megaproject. (Photo compliment: Government House)

In a world where every great venture inevitably leaves footprints, the government’s blue-sky thinking project in southern Thailand aims not just to bridge the serene Andaman coast of Ranong with the pristine Gulf of Thailand’s Chumphon, but also to swing open the gates to prosperity with a dazzling estimated investment of one trillion baht. Yet, it is not merely sea waves and economic crescendos that this colossal endeavor stirs. There are heartbeats of concern, notably among those who nurture the soil without the comforting shelter of formal land rights documents, and among those whose livelihoods, woven delicately around high-income agriculture like the cherished durian orchards, could quiver in the wake of change.

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, a navigator of the nation’s voyages and ventures, has, with a perspicacious eye, recognized this undercurrent of apprehension. Hence, he’s topping the charts with a novel course—a directive that insists the contractor responsible for the land bridge must also captain a vessel of empathy in the form of a compensation fund, to buoy those riding the silent waves of potential displacement.

With commitment etched onto every word, Mr. Suriya articulates the heartbeat of the government’s promise—a deep dive survey, conducted by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, aimed not just to chart the territories but also to sketch the lives it gently intersects with. A survey that promises transparency and burrows into the nooks and crannies of affected vicinities, ensuring that the compensation fund becomes not just a numerical figure, but a token of trust—a bridge of hope.

While the initial phase of the land bridge beckons with an investment of 500 billion baht, Mr. Suriya delineates a vision where the government holds the compass for land expropriation, guiding the odyssey while the private sector sets its sails towards the horizon of ports, railroads, and highways. And let’s not forget, kindling the flames of the compensation fund—a beacon for those sailing through rough waters.

Beyond the boundaries of the Kingdom, the wind carries echoes of interest from distant lands—an ear to the ground in China and a nod from the dunes of the United Arab Emirates testifies to the global ripples this project has begun to stir. With an air of confidence that could calm the surliest of seas, the minister echoes the feasibility of this venture that is poised to sketch a new silhouette on Thailand’s canvas.

As darkness gives way to dawn, there rests a community that ebbs and flows with the tides, and their voices, like a symphony of the sea, harmonize with nature’s cadence. The Prime Minister, with an ear attuned to the rhythm of his land and people, pledges to harmonize progression with preservation, ensuring that the song of development includes every voice from the local civic choirs.

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