Locals plant bananas on derelict road
Frustrated villagers in northern Nan province on Thursday turned their bumpy dirt road into a banana plantation in protest over authorities ignoring their hardship.
More than 100 villagers in tambon Bo's Ban Nam Ngam village planted bananas and payaya trees in a pothole-marred dirt section of Raipaiwan-Santiparb route. The damaged road section covers a distance of more than 11 kilometres. Some holes are so deep holes they've turned into fish ponds.
The locals, some of whom carried a banner Thursday calling for authorities to address their grievances, have waged a battle to have the road repaired for more than six years. They complain the dirt track has taken a heavy toll on their lives and vehicles.
Marisa Phanompibul, a native of Ban Nam Ngam, said she wanted the road to be repaired quickly as many residents have been badly impacted. Children have to travel along the bumpy road to school, while the elderly and sick have to get to the hospital.
Saroj Panompibun, village head of Ban Nam Ngao, said more than 2,000 residents from five villages - Ban Sala Puwiang, Ban Nam Ngao, Ban Sara Susan, Ban Santiparb and Ban Saithong - rely heavily on the road. Five schools also are located along the route.
Poor conditions of the road often caused road accidents which have so far claimed two lives, said the village head.
The locals had earlier lodged a complaint with the Bang Bo tambon administration organisation to set aside a budget to repair the road, but the local body claimed the cost for repairs was beyond its authority to approve, said Mr Saroj. A similar complaint had also been lodged with provincial authorities, but there had been no response.
He called on relevant agencies to seriously address this problem as the damaged road is a main transportation route for residents from several villages.