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AOT buy lands for people affected by noise pollution from new airport

BackMay 17, 2007

Airports of Thailand has paid Bt66 million to buy four plots of land near Suvarnabhumi Airport from owners who have complained of noise pollution since the airport opened last September.

The compensation is based on appraisals by independent assessor SD Con Corp, which is in charge of inspecting 129 structures near the airport built before 2001, said Surathat Suthammanas, deputy head of Suvarnabhumi Airport.

He said owners of structures in the zone affected by noise problems have been put into five categories.

The first is those who agree to sell their land to AOT unconditionally, which so far amounts to four persons who own a combined four rai of land. These were the four who signed a deal yesterday for the Bt66 million compensation.

Second: house owners who have asked for AOT's assistance in reducing noise effects, which will require an estimated budget of Bt9 million.

Third, property owners who oppose AOT purchase. Conflicts with this group would be handled in court.

Fourth: land owners who want to sell their entire plots, though AOT prefers to buy only the areas within the noise zone.

Fifth: those owners who have not yet identified themselves.

Surathat said that AOT would move quickly to solve conflicts in a second round of negotiations, and that if this round ends without result, the issues would proceed to court.

He insisted that AOT will use the conditions as set out in the contract made with the four property owners yesterday as the standard for the remainder of purchases.

"The price we offered was almost double the market rate. We can't offer any higher. When someone wants more from AOT, others always want more, too. AOT's budget is from taxpayers' money - from people across country - so we have to spend it wisely. We will try to compensate everyone equally," said Surathat.

For house owners asking for AOT's assistance in reducing noise, AOT would install panels inside the building, and also noisereducing doors and windows. The work would start at the beginning of June and be finished within a month. AOT would alternatively provide a reasonable budget for house owners who wanted to adapt their homes themselves.

He added that some schools, temples and hospitals in area were effected by noise levels of around 75 decibels. AOT would install noiseprotecting panels inside these buildings.

But some temples had asked AOT to fit airconditioners and also wanted AOT to pay their electricity bills forever.

Surathat said that fitting airconditioners might be possible, but AOT would not pay for the electricity, as this was asking too much.

When asked about 382 new homeowners who may also apply to be included in the noisecompensation package, Surathat said that if the Cabinet expands the noiseaffected area, AOT will apply the same rules with them. They could either sell their houses at the offered price, or receive assistance to reduce noise.

  There were 129 houses currently in the noiseaffected area, but only 71 owners had allowed AOT to carry out valuation and offer them a sale price. The rest had still not made any decision or were continuing their protest against AOT.


Source: The Nation
Thursday May 17, 2007