Monday, May 31, 2010

Municipality and TAO renamings

Published in the Royal Gazette on last Thursday were five name changes of local government units, four municipalities [Gazette] and one subdistrict administrative organization (TAO) [Gazette]. All of them were discussed in the municipal board meeting 6/2010 on February 4. Both announcements were signed on March 25. Sadly neither the meeting transcript nor the announcement states which meeting of the board on name changes approved these, but it must have been meeting 1/2010, as that covered 1 TAO, 4 municipalities as well as 1 administrative village (muban) and 9 temples.
  • Pho Nang Dam subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลโพนางดำ), Sapphaya district, Chainat province, renamed to Thep Phithak (เทศบาลตำบลเทพพิทักษ์) in order to avoid confusion with the two adjoining municipalities Pho Nang Dam Tok and Pho Nang Dam Ok.
  • Khok Khram Phatthana subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลโคกครามพัฒนา), Bang Pla Ma district, Suphanburi province, renamed to Ton Kram (เทศบาลตำบลต้นคราม) in order to avoid confusion with the adjoining municipality Khok Khram.
  • Phak Pang subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลผักปัง), Phu Khiao district, Chaiyaphum province, renamed to Phu Khiao (เทศบาลตำบลภูเขียว) in order to avoid confusion with the adjoining TAO Phak Pang.
  • Ban Phru subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านพรุ), Hat Yai district, Songkhla province, renamed to Ban Rai (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านไร่) in order to avoid confusion with the adjoining town municipality Ban Phru.
  • TAO Ban Mo (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบ้านหมอ), Ban Mo district, Saraburi province, renamed to Mueang Khit Khin (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลเมืองขีดขิน) in order to avoid confusion with the adjoining Ban Mo subdistrict municipality.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Upgrade of Chantha Nimit to town municipality

The upgrade of subdistrict municipality Chantha Nimit to a town municipality was announced in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday. The announcement was signed on February 18 by Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat (บุญจง วงศ์ไตรรัตน์). The upgrade was decided in the municipal board meeting on December 12 2009. The announcement does not state the date the upgrade becomes effective, according to the meeting transcript it became effective on December 30 2009.

The town Chantha Nimit (เทศบาลตำบลจันทนิมิต) is located directly east of the town Chanthaburi, separated from it by the Chanthaburi river. The local government entity dates back to the sanitary district (Sukhaphiban) Chantha Nimit (สุขาภิบาลจันทนิมิตร) created in 1955 (Gazette). Like all sanitary districts it was upgraded to a subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลจันทนิมิต) in 1999.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bangkok, here I come

The annual vacation trip to Thailand is coming close, so for the next three weeks it will mostly have postings already written and posted by automatic, though I will have some internet access and might even write something while staying there.

Luckily at least temporarily the troubles around the red shirt rally are over, but with all the uncertainty of the current situation I haven't made much travel plans yet, so it will be a very spontaneous traveling this time. Of the few things planned for sure is of course the book shopping - my prime target Chula Books wasn't affected by the arson attacks around Siam Square, so I hope I can get some of my book shopping list there. Another must-visit place is the old province hall of Nonthaburi which now houses a really good local museum - much better than the district museums of Bangkok, of which I also plan to visit a few more. On a more touristic side, the Monkey School in Surat Thani should get a revisit.

Since I will also stay several days in Bangkok, any of my readers who'd like to meet me for a coffee, beer or anything else chatting over more pleasant topics than just the current color-coded politics - simply drop me an email.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Women and politics in Thailand

Thanks to Google Books I found another table supplementing one I posted earlier already on the ratio of male to female officials in the Thai administrative subdivisions. That table only showed the officials directly employed via the Ministry of Interior, the head(wo)men and the deputies as well as the subdistrict doctor, the local government entities were missing.

Now the table on page 134 of the book Women and politics in Thailand lists almost all the subdivisions except the provinces and districts, since those are not elected but appointed posts.
% women
Provincial Council members
Municipality Council members
Sub-district heads
Village heads
Subdistrict Administrative Organization
• Board chairpersons
• members
The numbers are as of 2004 and originate from the Gender and Development Research Institute (GDRI).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Province governors transferred from riot provinces

The governors of the four provinces where the province halls have been burned down by rioting red shirts have now been punished as well. As of May 27 they are transferred to inactive posts in the Ministry of Interior, and acting governors were appointed to replace them. The complete list as of dailynews:
  • Udon Thani: Amnat Phokarat (นายอำนาจ ผการัตน์), governor since 2008, to be replaced by deputy governor Wirat Limsuwan (นายวิรัตน์ ลิ้มสุวรรณ)
  • Khon Kaen: Pramot Satcharak (นายปราโมทย์ สัจจะรักษ์), governor since March 1 2009, to be replaced by deputy governor Phayap Chanprasoet (นายพายัพ ชาญประเสริฐ)
  • Ubon Ratchathani: Chuan Sirinanphon (นายชวน ศิรินันท์พร), governor since 2007, to be replaced by MOI general inspector Wichit Chatphaisit (นายวิชิต ชาตไพสิฐ)
  • Mukdahan: Bunsong Techamanisathit (นายบุญส่ง เตชะมณีสถิตย์), governor since October 1 2009, to be replaced by MOI general inspector Chayawit Wosayangkun (นายชาญวิทย์ วสยางกูร)
However, according to Bangkok Post, these reassignments are only temporarily and the governors still have their title - but I doubt that in the next reshuffle in October they will still be in these provinces, maybe they will get downgraded to less prestigious provinces.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Municipal constituencies defined long before creation of municipality?

In June 2005, the Election Commission announced the constituencies for three municipalities in Roi Et province. The first of these three was the subdistrict municipality Niwet (เทศบาลตำบลนิเวศน์) in Thawatburi district. Now the strange thing - this municipality was created in 2008 by upgrading the TAO Niwet. Did the election commission already draw the constituencies years before they were needed the first time? Normally, the constituency announcements come 60 to 100 days after the board meeting in which the upgrades were decided.

The issue cleared once I had all of the constituency announcements in my XML, and could thus check if there were municipalities where there was no corresponding municipality. It then turned out that I was missing the constituencies of Ban Niwet subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านนิเวศน์), a former sanitary district covering the central parts of Niwet subdistrict around the district office of Thawatburi district.

The list of villages (Muban) of the Niwet municipality omits the number 13, and since the above mentioned constituency definition defines the boundary by listing the villages everything clears up. This village is part of constituency 2, and since it is not part of the former TAO, the whole reason for the confusion was the fact that while writing the announcement someone accidentally left out the word "บ้าน" (Ban). The constituency definitions for Niwet municipality itself were published in 2008, shortly after the upgrade.

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Muban in Surin

Published in the Royal Gazette last week was the creation of a new administrative village in Surin province. Ban Na Muan (บ้านนานวล), Village 7 of Kho Kho subdistrict, Mueang Surin district, is split and the new village 12 named Ban Rang Phueng (บ้านรังผึ้ง) is created. [Gazette] The new village became effective on March 9, the same date as when the act was signed by the province governor of Surin.

From the coordinates given in the boundary definition, the new village is located south of village 7, which is along highway 226 connection Surin town with Nakhon Ratchasima. I have geotagged the post with the settlement which seems to be at the center of the new village. The village name Ban Rang Phueng means "Bee hive village", but sadly I have no explanation for why this name was chosen, or if it simply already was the name of the above mentioned settlement.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Province halls destroyed

While more and more details show up on what has been called "Bangkok's 9/11", it's still a bit difficult to get a better image on what happened in the provinces yesterday. Even for the province halls (city halls) torched, I am still not sure how many and how badly were affected. What is quite clear is those in Udon and Ubon have been completely destroyed, as one can see from the photos in GuideUbon, Isaan Style and UdonMap. For Khon Kaen I found a video on youtube where the fire still seems controllable; according to the Bangkok Post also the one in Mukdahan was burning. According to that article, in Khon Kaen only the historical province hall was destroyed, while the new concrete building was only damaged. Yet to my perspective the loss of an historical building is even worse, as these modern province hall buildings all look similar anyway and can be rebuilt.

I have no idea what happened at the other two province halls originally mentioned in this tweet, I read nothing about Nakhon Ratchasima at all and only a bit about a standoff in front of Nonthaburi province hall due to its proximity to the ThaiCom station.

While this massive arson attack was of course something never happened before in Thailand, it wasn't the first time a province hall was destroyed. The province hall of Surat Thani suffered that fate twice, at first it burned down on December 8 1941 as it caught fire during the Japanese invasion, and a second time on March 19 1982 it was damaged beyond repair by a bomb placed by insurgents. The place where this old province hall was located now contains the city pillar shrine.

I wonder if this was the only case in history any of these buildings suffered such a fate before. I don't know about any other such terrorist act, nor haven't read about similar things happening at the other landing sites of the Japanese. But there might have been accidental fires destroying or badly damaging such a building, so anybody who can point me to more case is welcome.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Burning province halls

Die ich rief, die Geister, werd' ich nun nicht los.

from the spirits that I called. Sir, deliver me! ...
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Der Zauberlehrling

Fire at the Udon Thani province hall by Doug Udon

Given the amount of unconfirmed news and rumors right - while Twitter is the best source in this chaotic time one has to keep in mind that all tweets have to be taken with some skepticism - I don't know yet for sure how many of the province halls (quite often called city halls though that confuses a lot with the municipality administration) are affected, but from the above photo the one in Udon Thani has been burnt down, including the historical province hall building next to it, and also the ones in Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani and Mukdahan are either occupied by vandals or set afire as well. And these are only the buildings which I deal with in this blog, several other buildings in Bangkok have been set afire as well, like then Central World mall near the former demonstrators stage.

Looks like now the term "terrorist" used by the government used to some of the red shirt protesters finally fits, as these kinds of vandalism are never anything acceptable as a kind of protest against a government in a legitimacy crisis. But that's what one gets by the leaders radicalizing their demonstrators and then cannot stop them anymore when the compromise which nearly gave them their original result of new elections. I am deeply sorry about what's happening in Thailand now, and only hope that there won't be any further casualties and the vandals will be persecuted and get fair trials. But say goodbye to expect any income from tourism for the next years to come.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Subdistrict and TAO boundaries

In the transcript of the meeting 14/2553 of March 4 by board 2 of the board to consider draft laws - those transcripts where I normally only check for the municipality upgrades - it had only one topic on the agenda.

Villagers from Ban Takhian Khu (บ้านตะเคียนคู่), Mu 13 of Takhop subdistrict, Pak Thong Chai district, Nakhon Ratchasima province have complained about the bad road towards the district office, and since the one of Wang Nam Khiao is only 12 km (compared to 46 km to Pak Thong Chai) they requested to have the village attached to the TAO Wang Nam Khio.

Though the request is denied by the board, and the villages have to ask for an adjust of the district boundaries instead, the rationale for this decision is interesting. The transcript quotes the relevant Tambon Council and Tambon Administrative Organization Act of 1992, which in section 41 states that TAO with adjoining borders and in the same district can join into a single TAO. At first, this is only allowed within the same district, and also does only cover the dissolution of one TAO and joining into the neighboring TAO. Therefore this section does not say anything on a boundary change, something which seems not to be mentioned at all in this act. Yet it seems the board follows the interpretation that a TAO boundary must coincide with the subdistrict boundary - except of course there's an overlapping municipality.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Administrative offices in Nonthaburi

Province hall of NonthaburiFor the province Nonthaburi many of the offices are placed together in a single compound, the Nonthaburi government center. Not only comfortable for anyone having to do business with any of the these authorities, but also for me to be able to photograph all the offices with just a little bit of walking.

The last part of the provincial slogan - งามน่ายลศูนย์ราชการ - claims that the central administrative building is "beautiful, worth looking at". However to me the province hall looks just like all the others, yet when researching for the article on Nonthaburi province some years ago I came across a site which claimed that the province hall was awarded by the Ministry of Interior as the most beautiful province hall once.

Statue of King Chulalongkorn in front of the province hall NonthaburiPeltophorum pterocarpum
In front of the province hall is a statue of King Chulalongkorn, together with two Yellow Flame trees (Peltophorum pterocarpum, which is both the provincial symbol flower and tree. When I visited there, it also had lots of billboards around there, the candidate lists and other announcements around the election for the provincial administrative organization (องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัดนนทบุรี). This local government entity sharing responsibility for the whole province with the province hall has its office next to the district office, but since I did not look for it nor with my limited Thai noticed it on the map at the entrance I missed to photograph that one.

City pillar shrineCity pillar of Nonthaburi
Directly at the entrance of the compound is the city pillar shrine, though beautiful its architecture is quite standard style of these buildings. The first office building at the entrance is the municipality office (สำนักงานเทศบาลนครนนทบุรี), followed by the district office of Mueang Nonthaburi (ที่ว่าการอำเภอเมืองนนทบุรี).
Municipal office NonthaburiDistrict office Mueang Nonthaburi
The final important building I also missed to photograph is the provincial court, with the family and juvenile court directly next to it. The two courts actually use a different entrance from the main road and therefore were also omitted on the map at the entrance to the main compound. For the other buildings in the compound see in the map below, where I marked all the buildings I coul identify.

View Larger Map

The government center was opened in 1992, but from what I read already at the old location all these offices were in a single compound. Just a few months ago, this old building had been converted into the Museum of Nonthaburi (พิพิธภัณฑ์จังหวัดนนทบุรี), which from that review sounds like a very interesting place to visit. It is now definitely on my list of places to go next time I am in Bangkok.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Khwaeng of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is one of the few municipalities which have an additional subdivision into subdistricts (Khwaeng, แขวง). Though I don't know yet the history or actual tasks of these subdistricts, and their relation to the boroughs (Chumchon), I have now found them actually mentioned in the Royal Gazette in an publication where I did not expect them. In 2003, the constituencies for the municipal council were defined and published in the Royal Gazette.

Now, as Chiang Mai is a city municipality (Thesaban Nakhon), the municipal council has 24 members, elected in four constituencies with 6 councilors each. These four constituencies are defined as follows
  • Constituency 1: แขวงนครพิงค์ (Khwaeng Nakhon Ping)
  • Constituency 2: แขวงกาวิละ (Khwaeng Kawila)
  • Constituency 3: แขวงเม็งราย (Khwaeng Mengrai)
  • Constituency 4> แขวงศรีวิชัย (Kwaeng Siwichai)
Thus the constituencies directly coincide with the subdistricts. Yet for Nonthaburi, the other municipality which I know to have Khwaeng, the constituencies are not defined like this. Whether the subdistricts for Chiang Mai came first and had similar population numbers and could thus be used as constituencies later on, or were created simultaneously with the constituencies i an open question. I haven't been able to find any announcements in the Royal Gazette on the creation of these subdistricts, and even the website of Chiang Mai does not give much detail on them either.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Laem Chabang to become a city municipality

In meeting number 21 from April 22 2010 of the board to consider draft laws the only topic was the proposed upgrade of subdistrict municipality Laem Chabang (เทศบาลตำบลแหลมฉบัง) to a city municipality (เทศบาลนครแหลมฉบัง). The term of the municipal council ends on May 13, therefore municipal elections have to be held within the next 60 days anyway, so it is a good time to do a status change without the need of an extra election being held.

This upgrade probably means that the special administrative area Laem Chabang, which I have found mentioned elsewhere before, has been shelved for the moment.

The subdistrict municipality Laem Chabang was created in 1991 [Gazette], and is one of only a handful of municipalities which spread on more than one district, as it covers parts of both Bang Lamung and Si Ratcha district. Since the deep water harbor and the industrial area around it belongs to this municipality, it has quite a solid tax income and should have been eligible for a higher municipal status before already.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Provinces where no TAO became a municipality yet

As I suspect that the upgrade of TAO to municipalities has ceased for the moment, it's now possible to notice some funny statistics about the upgrades. While adding the municipal constituencies from 2003 - at that time it were almost only the original municipalities and the former sanitary district which had the constituency boundary announcement in the Royal Gazette - I noticed that in Krabi province there are only these kinds of municipalities, all the TAO created in the 1990s are still at that level. Actually, there are five provinces which haven't had any TAO upgrade so far.
  • Krabi - 51 TAO
  • Nakhon Nayok - 40 TAO
  • Narathiwat - 74 TAO
  • Pattani - 101 TAO
  • Prachuap Khiri Khan - 45 TAO
Only one of the original created TAO in these provinces does not exist anymore - Chehe in Narathiwat was merged into the subdistrict municipality Chehe in 2004. Interestingly, three of these provinces are in the South, and not one is in the poorest area of Thailand, the Northeast.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bueng Kan province approved by Ministry of Interior

Few weeks ago I posted that the proposal to create a new province Bueng Kan out of the eastern part of Nong Khai was submitted to the Ministry of Interior. Yesterday Khun Wisarut posted a translated news report in the 2bangkok forum, by which I noticed that this province proposal has made it another step closer to becoming reality. The proposal next has to be discussed by the cabinet, and after being approved the bill has to approved by the parliament. The interesting question is if this can all be done before the house is dissolved in September according to the road map proposed by Prime Minister Abhisit.

Yesterday's news report is based on this statement found on the parliament website, which additionally to listing the extend of the new province also lists a few other proposed new provinces which haven't made it. The three listed are Mae Sot, Phra Narai (Lopburi) and Fang.
Two other interesting side-news around this new province:
  • According to this tweet the province Bueng Kan is already in discussion for 37 years. The first date I knew about the proposal was 1994, when a petition on it was submitted to the Ministry of Interior.
  • According to this news article also translated in the above mentioned 2bangkok forum thread, UDD members already criticized the plan - because if it gets through now it will look like a success of the Bhum Jai Thai party (who holds the Ministry of Interior), therefore improving their chances in this area, normally a stronghold of the Phuea Thai party. Election campaigning starts already even though it is not yet clear the road map will actually be followed.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rename of Muban in Phatthalung

Published today in the Royal Gazette is the change of the name of village 7 of Tha Khae subdistrict, Mueang district, Phatthalung province. The name change was decided in meeting 1/2553 by the board on name changes on January 22 2010. Too bad that no transcript of this meeting nor the second one just held on April 23 is available yet on the website.

According to the announcement, Village 7 was previously named "บ้านลำเบ็ด (บ้านไพ)". In my XML I had it only listed as Ban Phai (but cannot recall the source), whereas in the DOPA Excel sheet it is listed as Ban Lamphet. The website of the TAO Tha Khae also says Ban Lamphet, but adds that the administrative village includes the villages Ban Ton Prik (บ้านต้นปริง) and Ban Pa Mai Phai (บ้านป่าไม้ไผ่). The new name is Ban Khao Kho Kwian (บ้านเขาโคเกวียน), which translates as "Ox Cart Hill Village". The name change was effective as of January 22, i.e. the date of the decision in the name change board. The announcement was signed March 18 by the governor of Phatthalung.

Since the new name is a unique village name, Google still has almost nothing on the new name - the only hit is a document hosted at the Thaksin University in Songkhla showing the original scanned announcement from the Phatthalung province administration.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

DOPA entity statistics 2009

DOPA has now published the numbers of the various administrative entities as of December 31 2009.
  • Central administration
    • Provinces (changwat, จังหวัด): 75
    • Districts (amphoe, อำเภอ): 878
    • Subdistricts (tambon, ตำบล): 7,255
    • Villages (muban, หมู่บ้าน): 74,954
  • Local Administration
    • Provincial administration organizations (PAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด): 75
    • Cities (thesaban nakhon, เทศบาลนคร): 23
    • Towns (thesaban mueang, เทศบาลเมือง): 142
    • Subdistrict municipalities (thesaban tambon, เทศบาลตำบล): 1,841
    • Subdistrict (Tambon) administration organizations (TAO or SAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล): 5,770
  • Special administrative entities: 2 (Bangkok and Pattaya)
No big surprises in these numbers comparing with last year, the numbers for the municipalities are identical with an earlier list from DOLA and just reflect the high number of TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities last year. Of course the number of districts increased by one with the new Galyani Vadhana district. The only other number which changed are the administrative villages, and there also only a modest increase by 10. All of these were covered by announcements in the Royal Gazette, one new village in Nan, one in Sakon Nakhon and eight in Surat Thani.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mueang Khlung

While working through the Royal Gazette announcements of the beginning of the 20th century, I came across the probably shortest time a province existed. In 1906 the Monthon Chanthaburi was created, when France gave back control of this area back to Siam, however occupying the province Trat instead. This new Monthon was created out of three provinces, then named Mueang - Chanthaburi, Rayong and Khlung. The last one was newly created with the same announcement, consisting of the two districts
  • Khlung (ขลุง)
  • Thung Yai (ทุ่งใหญ่), which is now Khao Saming district.
In 1907 however, this Mueang was already dissolved again, in the announcement which contains the creation of Kabinburi province also includes the abolishing of Khlung province, with Khlung district reassigned to Chanthaburi province and Thung Yai to Trat province.

Now, the interesting thing is to compare this with the book "The Provincial Administration of Siam" by Tej Bunnag, still my prime source of the administrative system 1892-1915. In appendix II it has a list of all provinces in the various Monthon, yet for Chanthaburi it only lists Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat. The text on page 163 gives only few further facts on this Monthon.
In 1906 monthon Chanthaburi was created when France returned the province which she had occupied since 1893. In 1907, Trat, the south-easternmost province which the French had occupied since 1904, was joined to monthon Chanthaburi.
I wasn't yet able to find an announcement in the Royal Gazette on the integration of Mueang Trat into Monthon Chanthaburi, which must have taken place only shortly before the abolishing on Mueang Khlung.