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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Suvarnabhumi's neighbours fight noise pollution

Thousands of residents suffering the effects of noise pollution created by Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday gathered at the airport demanding Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont show up and provide urgent assistance.

Dressed in black, the protesters blocked gates 2-4 of the passenger terminal and vowed not to disperse until the premier arrived to talk to them. Prachob Muangin, leader of the protesters, said the residents wanted Surayud to determine compensation for their properties, which the Airports of Thailand (AOT) has to buy from them.

A Cabinet resolution on November 21 last year ordered the AOT to compensate or buy the properties of people living close to the airport due to noise pollution. However, the residents and the AOT have not been able to agree on the level of compensation as the residents have sought amounts that would enable them to buy new properties in other areas, while the AOT has tried to bargain down the price.

Surayud declined to meet the protesters, saying he had assigned state agencies involved in the matter to work with them.

"Even if I did go, I could not help them much," he said.

Rear Admiral Amornthep na Bangchang, representative of the Transport Ministry, told the protesters that the issue would be brought before the Cabinet again on May 22 and asked them to disperse. Yesterday evening the protest was still going on.

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