SRT aims to kickstart land use

The State Railway of Thailand will ask the Transport Ministry to help revive its long-delayed plan to develop its landholdings for commercial purposes.

SRT governor Yutthana Thapcharoen said the land development project has made no progress until now due to restrictions imposed by the public-private joint investment law.

He said the SRT needs to include the private sector in its land development project, but the law does not allow business partners a free hand in designing a development plan.

The agency is required to create a conceptual design and conduct an environment impact assessment under the law.

"With this restriction, a business partner will have to follow the SRT's design. But the SRT believes it will be more practical to allow a partner that has expertise in land development to submit a proposal," he said.

He said the SRT will report the problem to the Transport Ministry and ask it to lay down a policy.

Mr Yutthana said the SRT has designated three plots for commercial land development _ the land around train stations at Makkasan, Maenam and Yan Phahon Yothin.

He said a number of proposals for commercial development of Makkasan station have been floated.

The SRT has also set aside a budget of 3 billion baht to pay for relocating the maintenance depot at Makkasan station to clear the way for land development, he said.

Soithip Traisut, director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, said the SRT will refer the issue to her agency for consideration.

She said the office may create a working committee to find a solution for the SRT.

Meanwhile, Mr Yutthana said the state railway is expected to finalise rental fees for its stalls at Chatuchak Market this week.

The board is scheduled to consider the proposed rental fees today.

The SRT took over the management of the market from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Jan 2 and has been allowing vendors to operate for free until the end of this month.
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