Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha yesterday invoked Section 44 of the interim Constitution to unlock the legal dispute on the use of Sor Por Kor land or land reform for agricultural purpose.
Government spokesman Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that at the meeting of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)chaired by Gen Prayut, it gave approval to the plan to use Section 44 to unlock the use of Sor Por Kor land covering some 41 million rai of land nationwide.
The invocation of such sweeping power was aimed to settle the issue of Sor Por Kor land being used for business activities beyond agriculture, such as petroleum, renewable energy and mining.
The legal dispute over the use of Sor Por Kor land emerged earlier this year when the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that renting out Sor Por Kor land for wind farms in Chaiyaphum was not allowed as the land had been designated for farming purposes only.
The court then ordered the revocation of a licence to develop a wind farm there.
Earlier this month, the same court revoked the Agricultural Land Reform Committee's order allowing the use of natural resources in land reform areas for any purposes other than agriculture, leading to seven upstream petroleum projects being halted which affected SET-listed PTTEP and six other companies.
The order under Section 44 was invoked to handle the legal dispute, as it will cut through existing regulations, allowing Sor Por Kor land to be used for other purposes other than agriculture, such as petroleum, renewable energy and mining.
Under the order of the prime minister, any companies which already have the licenses could resume their operations.
But for the future license, consideration would be taken on case by case basis.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)