changes have left a tsunami memorial project in Khao Lak Lamru national
park mired in uncertainty as the government wants to correct problems
left by the previous administration. Apinan Poshyananda, director
of the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture in charge of the project,
said the interim government had suspended construction of the the
memorial while environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies and
public hearings for the 600-million-baht project, initiated by the
deposed Thaksin Shinawatra government, were underway.
However, a three-million-baht
budget set aside for the EIA process has yet to be approved.
may take longer as it involves construction in a national park.
A careful study of the environmental situation is needed,'' he said.
Mr Apinan said
the memorial would consist of five main components _ the memorial
ground, museum, tsunami study centre, an early warning centre and
government proposed the project last year as part of its plan for
an annual high-profile commemorative event.
It also set
aside a 1.5-billion-baht budget for the project, before cutting
that back to 600 million baht.
baht alone was spent on the design selection process which lasted
The budget was
for promotional campaigns and appointing international judges, most
of them world-renowned architects and museum curators.
To hasten the
process, the previous government approved the memorial construction
without obtaining a permit for use of the national park from the
National Park Committee. The decision met with fierce criticism
from conservationists and scholars.
Under the original
schedule, construction of the memorial would have begun around now,
in time for the next tsunami anniversary on Dec 26, 2007.
Little has been
done at the project site at Hat Lek Beach, except for a new shortcut.
Someone has put in a small forest track cutting from the main road
to the beach.
Phromyoti, president of the Association of Siam Architecture, one
of the agencies on the design screening panel, urged the government
to clear the air about the project.
team, which won the design competition with its ''Mountain of Remembrance''
workpiece, had asked about the delay, as had the Spanish embassy.
''No one knows
what will happen. We have no idea what the current government thinks
about the project,'' he said.
Asst Prof Ariya
Aruninta, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's faculty of architecture,
said she disagreed with the choice of site, saying no construction
should be allowed in a national park.
Such a large-scale
project also went against the concept of the memorial which was
to serve as a reminder of the loss of human life to nature.