Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Planned new provinces - Phu Wiang

Map of Khon Kaen province highlighting the districts set to form Phu Wiang provinceOne planned new province which occasionally shows up in Thai news is the one planned to be formed from the northwestern part of Khon Kaen, with the district Phu Wiang as the new capital district. By some random googleing I have something new to me about this plan. According to a news posting named ขอนแก่นเปลี่ยนคำขวัญจังหวัดใหม่ หลังจากได้รับพระราชทานนาม “สิรินธรเน่” at the region division of the Public Relations Department, it is now suggested to name the new province after HRH Princess Sirindhorn. Sadly that page does not give the date of its writing, and also does not say anything about when this new province will come into existence. However a google search for "จังหวัดสิรินธรเน่" gives zero results, so either this report is very recent or it did not get the royal endorsement to use this name.

The new province is set to consist of the seven districts Nong Ruea, Chum Phae, Si Chomphu, Phu Pha Man, Phu Wiang, Nong Na Kham and Wiang Kao, as shown in the map of Khon Kaen Province above. However I have no idea what is the current status of this proposal, all the websites I can find by searching for "จังหวัดภูเวียง" (or "จังหวัดชุมแพ", Chum Phae, which is another name proposed for this province) seem to be older than 2006. Either the plan has been shelved, or it is quietly continuing now - I'd love to know the current status.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TAO creations

Recently the local government units get a lot of attention, most visibly the many Tambon Administrative Organizations (TAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล) getting upgraded into municipalities by 4 to 6 each week as I report them in the board meeting summaries. So after I have now the municipalities mostly up to date (just have to work through a few board meetings from last year), the next step would be to have the complete list of all the TAO, their date of creation and eventual later changes to it. The only problem is the sheer number of more than 6000 TAO. Most of these are created with 4 announcements in the Royal Gazette, dating from 1995 to 1999 - 618 in 1995, 2143 in 1996,
3637 in 1997 and 350 in 1999.

I wonder if anyone have these announcements in real digital form, not just the scan of the printed version. To process them manually is a lot of work, and of course also error-prone. For a test I have done the TAO of Phuket and Ranong, both provinces with only a few TAO, especially to check if I haven't missed any major announcement.

By the way, the photo shows the office of the TAO Bang Bai Mai (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบางใบไม้), Mueang Surat Thani distict, located not far from the city of Surat Thani. It is so far the only TAO I have visited and photographed, especially as I have no map yet giving the locations, and there are usually no road signs to find them either. It was quite some coincidence I found a sketch map of the Tapi river delta showing that office location.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Municipal decisions from March 7 2008

Meeting number 19 from March 7 2008 with the upgrade of four TAO to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Nong Plong (เทศบาลตำบลหนองปล้อง), Wang Sai Phun district, Phichit province, effective July 18 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 50 km², 10 villages and 3,436 citizen.
  • Isan (เทศบาลตำบลอิสาณ), Mueang district, Buriram province, effective July 18 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 36.89 km², 18 villages and 16,885 citizen. Mind the Thai spelling - while the romanization is the same, the Northeastern region of Thailand is spelled อีสาน. So while the new municipality has a short "i" at beginning, the region has a long one.
  • Nai Mueang (เทศบาลตำบลในเมือง), Sawankhalok district, Sukhothai province, effective July 1 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 54.87 km², 13 villages and 7,987 citizen.
  • Pa Kum Ko (เทศบาลตำบลป่ากุมเกาะ), Sawankhalok district, Sukhothai province, effective July 18 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 67 km², 14 villages and 8,204 citizen.
There is also a correction to the creation of Phu Sing subdistrict municipality from February 1.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ubon region now in hires in Google Earth

Now he region around Ubon Ratchathani in the northeast of Thailand is covered with high resolution imagery. Actually, I am a bit late to report it, as it was announced on April 4 on the Google Earth Blog already. But I was then underway, and wasn't able to check the extend of the new data. The official blog says the areas now newly covered are Hat Yai, Ubon Ratchathani, Pattani, Warin Chamrap and Mukdahan, and listed separately Nai Mueang and Ban Dong Tong. Though while Pattani and Mukdahan is just a single square, and for Pattani a very cloudy one, Ubon and Warin Chamrap are just the two largest towns for a larger area updated, now almost the whole province Ubon Ratchathani is covered in hires. Ban Dong Tong is actually the area south of the town Nakhon Phanom. However I have no idea what they mean with Nai Mueang - that is the name of several central subdistricts in provincial capitals. But I guess they actually mean Nakhon Phanom, as it is within one strip with the Ban Dong Tong. I am not fully sure, but it also seems there's a new hires square around Ranot, at the northern part of the Songkhla lake. At least I haven't noticed that before to adjust the location of the district office to the Wikipedia article on the district. I have that for all these new areas already, the next time Google updates the Wikipedia layer the placemarks for the district article will be directly at the district office.

Another thing which is new is the boundary data within Thailand. If I recall correctly before it were only the provincial boundaries displayed, but now also the Tambon boundaries are show. However rhey are wrongly labeled as 2nd level administrative boundaries - the second level are the Amphoe (disticts), the Tambon (subdistricts) are the 3rd level. But as I had a lot of problems to find these boundaries before I won't complain.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Seals of the municipalities

Not only the provinces have emblems or seals (In Thai ตราสัญญลักษณ์), each of the municipality (thesaban) have one as well, and even the Tambon administrative organizations (TAO) each have one. As the TAO were nearly all created 1996-1999, and also in 1999 the sanitary districts became municipalities, a great number of these emblems had been created recently. To see these emblems in the everyday life one has to know where to look. Quite obviously they are displayed at the administrative office, at least if they had enough money for a representative building or sign. Maybe the most common place to see them however are the garbage bins - garbage collection is one of the tasks of the municipality and TAO. To show on this blog I even made a photo of such a garbage bin. A much more beautiful place for the emblem was found by municipality Don Sak, they placed it on top of their street signs. And of course those municipalities/TAO which have a website show their logo their as well.

That emblem from Don Sak also serves as a good example of the contents of these emblems. As they describe on their website, the main element is the Chedi of Khao Suwan Pradit (วัดเขาสุวรรณประดิษฐ์), the main temple of the whole district. It's of course no coincidence I chose the street named after (and leading towards) the temple for this photo. Another element in the logo is a ship, as the ferry pier to Ko Samui is also located within the town area. The emblems usually show some special buildings or natural places found within the area of the entity, or like the elephant in the one from Chang Sai something related to the etymology of the place. Sadly only few of the municipalities actually add the explanation of their logo on their website, so for many I could only guess what is displayed and why.

I wonder if anyone in Thailand has collected these emblems in a systematic way yet? Here in Europe heraldry has a long history, and have quite a lot of books on this topic, some of it collecting and explaining all the coat of arms of administrative entities for a specific area. If someone know anything like this for the Thai emblems please tell me about it, all I have is one book on the Thai flags (ธงไทย เล่ม ๑ - Thong Thai Volume 1, ever had the second volume?), and the citation for a book on the provincial seals I have no idea yet how to get my personal copy (ตราประจำจังหวัด by the Fine Arts Department, 1999).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Municipal decisions from February 29 2008

Meeting number 17 from February 29 2008 with the upgrade of 4 TAO to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Phra Song (เทศบาลตำบลพระซอง), Na Kae district, Nakhon Phanom province, effective July 19 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 33 km², 17 villages and 7,774 citizen.
  • Khok Samran (เทศบาลตำบลโคกสำราญ), Ban Haet district, Khon Kaen province, effective July 19 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 70.63 km², 16 villages and 8,930 citizen.
  • Tha Chang Khlong (เทศบาลตำบลท่าช้างคล้อง), Pha Khao district, Loei province, effective May 1 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 87 km², 14 villages and 10,618 citizen.
  • Fao Rai (เทศบาลตำบลเฝ้าไร่), Fao Rai district, Nong Khai province, effective July 18 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 62 km², 17 villages and 11,067 citizen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stamps with the provincial seals, 2nd series

The second series of stamps with provincial seals have been issued on April 2. Same as with the first series, on the My Philately World blog it has the first day covers (Part 1 and part 2), and also the whole sheet. The Thai post details on the sheet is still not existing, they whole new stamp section of their website hasn't been updated for quite some time.

As you can see below, I have this sheet now myself as well - I bought it when I was in Bangkok, and also bought the first series sheets. I only don't know where to get the first day covers, the Bangkok Noi post office did not have them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Elections for the province administration organization

Last Sunday and again on next Saturday or Sunday several of the province held elections for the provincial administration organizations (PAO) - both the members as well as the chairman. The PAO is a kind of a provincial parliament, but it has only very limited authorities and thus is not much well-known, most the administrative tasks within the provinces reside with the central authority, by the various local officers sent from the respective ministries or departments in Bangkok. It's similar with the chairman of the PAO, the real leader of the province is the provincial governor sent from the Ministry of the Interior. I still have to research more details on the PAO, like its tasks or history, so the entity will be a topic here again for sure.

Surat Thani was among the 41 provinces who went to vote last Sunday - 15 elected only the PAO, 25 both the PAO and the chairman, and one only the chairman. I was in Surat Thani the first half of April, so I have seen lots of election posters, though much less than much less than before a national election in Bangkok. The candidate of list number 2 in most constituencies is the one endorsed by the Democratic Party, but this is specialty of the south of Thailand as normally the members of the PAO have no party affiliation. I have also seen only very few cars driving around doing election commercials.

The only thing in English about these elections I have found so far is an article in The Nation published on Monday. The Election Commission has nothing about these elections on their English site, while the Thai site lists the provinces which went to vote last Sunday or will go next weekend. I have tried to find the list of constituencies, at least for Surat Thani, but haven't been able to do so, neither the EC nor the province website have such information. So the only things I know are that there are at least 5 constituencies in Mueang district, and that Chaiya district forms a single constituency. For two of the Mueang constituencies I have photos of posters with the list of subdistricts (tambon) or villages (muban) within that constituency. So constituency 2 covers subdistrict Talad, village 5 of Bang Kung and villages 1 and 4 of Makhian Thia. Constituency 5 covers village 1 to 4 of Bang Kung, the full subdistricts Bang Pho, Bang Sai, Bang Chana, Bang Bai Mai and Khlong Chanak.

At the province hall the full list of candidates and some other papers, maybe be the voters directory, were on public display on several movable walls. When I looked around them, I haven't noticed a constituency map either. I have also got myself a leaflet explaining the voters in Surat Thani about this election - guess I will try to translate it, both for training my Thai and for putting something unique here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Municipal decisions from December 28 2007

In the 62nd meeting of the 2nd board on December 28 2007, the final meeting of last year, five TAO in Mukdahan province are upgraded to subdistrict municipalities, all already effective February 28 2008.
  • Ban Kaeng (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านแก้ง), Don Tan district, covering 24.13 km², 7 villages and 2,834 citizen.
  • Nong Sung Nuea (เทศบาลตำบลหนองสูงเหนือ), Nong Sung district, covering 34.5 km², 13 villages and 4,654 citizen.
  • Ban Pao (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านเป้า), also Nong Sung district, covering 38 km², 6 villages and 3,892 citizen.
  • Phu Wong (เทศบาลตำบลภูวง), also Nong Sung district, covering 34.60 km², 7 villages and 2,654 citizen.
  • Rom Klao (เทศบาลตำบลร่มเกล้า), Nikhom Kham Soi district, covering 45 km², 7 villages and 3,084 citizens.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Return of annexed provinces to French Indochina

Provinces annexed during World War IIAt the end of World War II when Japan finally had to surrender, Thailand's alliance with Japan became a burden. Thanks to the fact that quite a lot of high-ranking officials had supported the Seri Thai underground movement against the Japanese occupation, and of course also a lot of diplomatic work, Thailand remained independent and without territorial losses. Well, except that the four provinces it won back from French Indochina in 1941 had to be returned to retain the status-quo before the war.

France considered itself to be at war with Thailand, while Thailand claimed to be at peace following the friendship treaty of 1941. In a diplomatic note of September 1945 France demanded the return of the territory, and even the return of the Emerald Buddha to Vientiane, from where it was won by Kind Rama I in 1784. This last demand was of course unacceptable by the Thai government, and was removed from the contract proposal relative quickly. On the other hand, the Thai suggestion of a referendum in these areas about their future status was also turned down. In May 1946 France started firing shells to the Thai cities Nakhon Phanom and Tha Uthen, and only thanks to the Thai side staying calm with did not turn into a full-scale conflict. After several further months of negotiations the final contract was signed on November 1 1946 in Washington. In part it were these open issues with France which delayed the membership in the United Nations till December 1946 as France vetoed until it regained the lost territory.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Municipal decisions from January 4 2008

Meeting number 2 from January 4 2008 with three TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Um Mao (เทศบาลตำบลอุ่มเม้า), Thawat Buri district, Roi Et province, effective January 20 2008. The TAO was created in 1997, covers 39 km², 15 villages and 7,830 citizen.
  • Ban Don (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านดอน), U Thong district, Suphanburi province, effective March 1 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 36.62 km², 9 villages and 7,755 citizen.
  • Pak Nam (เทศบาลตำบลปากน้ำ), Doem Bang Nang Buat district, Suphanburi province, effective July 1 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 37 km², 7 villages and 4,841 citizen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Number of administrative entities in the past

After I found the most up-to-date numbers of administrative entities at the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), comparing them with the numbers in the past can show some trends, like the stop of district creation in 1997. I don't have many such data points yet, the most useful to show a larger trend are from two antiquarian books I bought recently. Also, in many cases only the central administrative entities are mentioned, while the municipalities are left out. So in the table below I also just list the district (Amphoe, subdistrict (Tambon) and village (Muban) numbers - the development of the province number was topic of an earlier post already. The minor districts are not always given, they might be included in the number of districts or might have been omitted completely.

YearDistrictsMinor districtsSubdistrictsVillages

One trend is notable even from this relatively small sample - while the number of villages did rise continuously, the higher level numbers did not change since 1997. One reason may be the Asian financial crisis, or also the much stronger focus on local administrative entities like the TAO and municipalities, as you might have noticed from the many thesaban postings lately.

More data-points are of course welcome, especially older versions of the year-end DOPA statistics.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ko Samui city status delayed

It was mentioned on the ThaiVisa forum quite some time ago, however Samui Express was a bit slow to put it up on their website. But now it is online - Surat governor rejects cityhood. According to that article the governor of Surat Thani province Vinai Baupradit has halted the plans of the upgrade to city status, claiming that the requirements aren't met yet.
Samui has also met the population and income requirements, as it has over 50,000 residents and its Bt10-billion annual income is past the required Bt400 million or more.
But strangely no word on the population density requirement, as far as I know the area also needs to have a population density of at least 3,000 per square kilometre to qualify for a city (same for the town status). For subdistrict municipalities this limit is at 1,500 per km² - but this is hardly ever reached in the recent upgrades of TAO to municipalities, which cover the whole subdistrict (tambon), not just the densely settled area which had made municipal separately from the rest of the subdistrict in the past. So maybe the density requirement was dropped recently.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Municipal decisions from January 11 2008

Meeting number 4 from January 11 2008 with six TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Thung Saeng Thong (เทศบาลตำบลทุ่งแสงทอง), Nang Rong district, Buriram province, effective February 28 2008. The TAO was created in 1999, covers 19.20 km², 7 villages and 3,176 citizen.
  • Krasae Sin (เทศบาลตำบลกระแสสินธุ์), Krasae Sin district, Songkhla province, effective February 28 2008. The TAO was created in 1999, covers 25 km², 4 villages and 3,082 citizen.
  • Nong Yuang (เทศบาลตำบลหนองยวง), Wiang Nong Long district, Lamphun province, effective February 29 2008. The TAO was created in 1999, covers 17.56 km², 5 villages and 4,007 citizen.
  • Ban Thum (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านทุ่ม), Mueang Khon Kaen district, Khon Kaen province, effective July 18 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 54 km², 18 villages and 16,723 citizen.
  • Wang Thong (เทศบาลตำบลวังทอง), Wang Sombun district, Sa Kaeo province, effective February 28 2008. The TAO was created in 1999, covers 143.9 km², 17 villages and 13,000 citizen.
  • Mae Pan (เทศบาลตำบลแม่ปาน), Long district, Phrae province, effective February 28 2008. The TAO was created in 1999, covers 116 km², 7 villages and 3,129 citizen.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thai standard 1099-2548

The Thai standard TIS 1099-2535 did only cover the provinces and assigned them two-digit geocodes. In 2005 a second version of the standard was issued, which also includes the districts (Amphoe) and subdistricts (Tambon), with the district having 4 digit and the subdistricts 6. Named "Province, amphur and tambon identification codes for data interchange", it is basically the same as the geocode list from the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), which I have blogged about earlier. Interestingly it contains a few of the municipalities (thesaban) as well, with its geocodes being the same as I have found them earlier. But only very few of the municipalities are actually listed, I haven't checked in detail yet, but it looks like its only those which already existed before the 1999 upgrade of all the sanitary districts to municipalities. It also does not contain the district Wiang Kao, but that's hardly surprising as that was created in 2006, while the standard was written in 2005.

The standard was announced in the Royal Gazette on June 29 2006 in volume 123, issue 62 ง, page 32. The PDF includes the full list, altogether 122 pages.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Municipal decisions from January 18 2008

Meeting number 6 from January 18 2008 with six TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Takang (เทศบาลตำบลตะกาง), Mueang Trat district, Trat province, effective February 28 2008. The TAO was created in 1999, covers 79.54 km², 6 villages and 2,478 citizen.
  • Mae Chan (เทศบาลตำบลแม่จัน), Umphang district, Tak province, effective February 28 2008. The TAO was created 1999, covers 2,385 km², 12 villages and 11,047 citizen.
  • Don Wai (เทศบาลตำบลดอนหวาย), Non Sung district, Nakhon Ratchasima province, effective February 28 2008. The TAO was created 1999, covers 20.49 km², 7 villages and 3,440 citizen.
  • Wisit (เทศบาลตำบลวิศิษฐ์), Bueng Kan district, Nong Khai province, effective July 9 2008. The TAO was created 1996, covers 68.33 km², 13 villages and 6,688 citizen.
  • Charim (เทศบาลตำบลจริม), Tha Pla district, Uttaradit province, effective July 1 2008. The TAO was created 1996, covers 126.70 km², 13 villages and 8,645 citizen.
  • Khu Tao (เทศบาลตำบลคูเต่า), Hat Yai district, Songkhla province, effective January 16 2008. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 45.30 km², 10 villages and 10,656 citizen.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Gazette announcements with mistakes

The announcements in the Royal Gazette are written by humans, and humans make mistakes. Even in such an important publication like the official announcements in the Royal Gazette where the text is probably crosschecked before publications sometimes a mistake slips through, and later a second announcement with the correction has to be made. In most cases I have found so far (and there are not many) it was just a spelling mistake in one of the entity names, but I have one example where something more went wrong: The creation of the minor district Khok Charoen in Lopburi province out of the district Khok Samrong in 1987. The announcement is titled "ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง แบ่งเขตท้องที่อำเภอโคกสำโรง จังหวัดลพบุรี ตั้งเป็นกิ่งอำเภอโคกสำโรง" - Royal Order of splitting area from Khok Charoen district to become minor district Khok Samrong. And also in the text of the announcement the names of the parent district and the new minor district are exchanged. That announcement was published on March 3rd, the correction came on May 26th. It was titled "แก้คำผิด ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง แบ่งเขตท้องที่อำเภอโคกสำโรง จังหวัดลพบุรี ตั้งเป็นกิ่งอำเภอโคกเจริญ" - correction of Royal Order of splitting area from Khok Samrong district to become minor district Khok Charoen.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Municipal decisions from January 25 2008

Meeting number 8 from January 25 2008 with one TAO upgraded to a subdistrict municipality, and another municipality having its area changed.
  • TAO Khok Sung, Phon Thong district, Roi Et province, became a subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลโคกสูง) on February 28. The TAO was created in 1999, covers 33.50 km², 13 villages and 5,653 citizen.
  • The subdistrict municipality Ko Sichang (เทศบาลตำบลเกาะสีชัง), Ko Sichang district, Chonburi province, had its area changed on January 25 2008. As I cannot read the text I don't know any more details. What is a bit odd is the fact that I thought the municipality already covered the whole district, at least all the area covered by the population statistics from DOPA.