Royal Development Projects have characteristics that set them apart from other projects. The projects are initiated to help provide the people with solutions to problems that they have been unable to overcome on their own; and the projects also enable and teach the people to live a better life without destroying the environment or natural resources. His Majesty has far-reaching knowledge in many fields and he is not an extravagant man. He believes in sustainable living – use only what is needed and nature will replenish herself. He does and he learns and he experiments. The best equipment and the best methods are not always the most expensive. Sometimes things don't work as well as was hoped, but he doesn't give up. The costs of unproductive projects are always borne by the projects, never by the farmers. The projects initiated by H.M. the King are never for his personal or financial gain. The royal ‘profit' or ‘dividend' is the satisfaction of seeing improvement in the lives of his people. Royal Development Projects can be divided into four subheadings. The First are "Projects Initiated According to His Majesty's Wishes" These are projects on which His Majesty himself conducts study, experimentation and implementation. Those experiments are often carried out within the Royal Chitralada Projects area, but also are sometimes tried in other project areas. These are financed by H.M. the King's own funds."The Royal Projects" cover development and preservation of water resources and watershed areas; and crop substitution to curtail opium planting by hilltribes, and encourage them to settle in permanent villages where they can have alternative sources of income."The Projects "Under His Majesty's Patronage" are those for which His Majesty gives advice and guidelines for implementation by the private sector that also provides its own funding, staff and on-going supervision."Royally Initiated Projects" are those planned by His Majesty and for which he gives advice to appropriate government agencies to undertake study and implementation. The Royally Initiated Projects are spread throughout all regions of the country and focus on both short-term and long-term development.
His Majesty emphasizes "development work which aims to strengthen the community to the self-supporting level". Progressive technology brought into a village or region that has no foundational structure to help local people to cope with the tremendous change is usually of no value to them.
The Public Relations Department, Region 3 organized the trip of Self - Sufficient theory which is initiated by His Majesty. Our group of the press and public relations members visited the Chitralada Villa, Dusit Palace in late morning of July 3, 2007 (Please read our Last Issue).
Later in the afternoon, we headed for a boat trip to the sufficient economy village on the island of Goh Gred in Nonthaburi. Nonthaburi is over 400 years old, dating back to the days when Ayutthaya was the capital. The town was originally located at Tambon Baan Talad Khwaang, a famous fruit orchard where the Chao Phraya River and various canals pass through. King Prasat Thong of Ayutthaya ordered the construction of a canal as a shortcut from the south of Wat Tye Muang to Wat Khema because the old waterway flowed into the river's big curve to Bang Yai then to Bang Gruay Canal next to Wat Chalor before ending in front of Wat Khema.
After the new shortcut was completed, the Chao Phraya River changed its flow into the new route that remains today. In 1665, King Narai the Great noticed that the new route gave enemies too much proximity to the capital of Ayutthaya. Therefore, he ordered that a fortress be built at the mouth of the original river and relocated Nonthaburi to this area. A city shrine still stands there. Later during the reign of King Rama IV of the Rattanakosin period, he ordered the town moved to the mouth of Bang Zue Canal in Baan Talad Khwaang. King Rama V then had the provincial hall built there on the left bank of the Chao Phraya River. In 1928, the hall was moved to Ratchawitthayalai, Baan Bang Khwaang Tambon Bang Tanao Sri. It is now the Training Division of the ministry of Interior on Pracha Rat 1 Road, Nonthaburi's main city, on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. The building is an European architecture decorated with patterned woodwork. The Fine Arts Department has registered it as an historical site. The provincial hall is now on Rattanathibet Road.
This 4 square kilometers island is very remote from the frenetic pace of Bangkok. A fast swelling branch of the Chao Phraya River surrounds the Island. For visitors who want to have good luck, they can follow the program to visit 9 temples on the island. The many cottage craftsmen who live here create a distinctive style of clay pottery. Descendants of the Mon ethnic group, they have managed to keep the skills and culture of their forefathers alive today. The pottery is known by its red and black shiny glazed surface and intricate designs. Several restaurants specializing in the delicious taste of central Thai food are also located here.
After a one-night stay in Grand Tower Hotel located on Klong Prapa (Water Supply Canal) at the corner of Soi Rewadee and Soi 11 Phaholyolthin Rd., we headed the southern route.
We stopped at the Floating Market, Damnoen Saduak District, Rajburi. This very long established destination is a prime example of sufficiency economy life-style of villagers. Tourists from all nations were having a great time photographing, eating exotic fruits, and riding the canal in simple sampan boats. Khun Goson helped a Korean couple anxious to sample the outstanding papaya salad they had heard so much about. But they were having a problem explaining their request to the vendor. Needless to say they were so pleased to have a food expert like him to handle the ordering. "Boat noodles" were sampled, and much fruit displayed everywhere for purchase.
The Laem Paakbia Project in the subdistrict, Baan Laem District in Petchburi was established in 1991 in a search for solving environmental problems including solid waste, wastewater, and mangrove forest deterioration. The area occupies nearly 160 hectares of former deserted salt farmlands and deteriorated mangrove forest. The technologies developed are simple, easy to practice, low cost and based on the principal of self purification process or utilization of natural means to restore deteriorated natural resources.
The wastewater after pumped from the city from a distance of 18.5 km to the project. The water is filtered through five large shallow earthen basins: one sediment pond, three oxidation ponds and one stabilization pond. The city produces wastewater in the amount of 10,000 m3/day but at that time conveyed to the project 3,000 m3/day.
Standing at the edge of the fifth lagoon, it was thrilling at 4 pm when hundreds of birds start flying over the cleanest treated water. The birds intuitively knew only this pond held the small fish and microoganisms for them to feed. The clean water attracted native birds such as large white herons, egrets, and bitterns.
That clean water is released in the nearby mangrove growth and combines with incoming seawater. Another benefit is after the two types of grass plants are materials for handicraft production. After the grass types are harvested every 90 and 45 days (respectively), the first type can be made into tweed products such as hats, mats, bags and paper pulp. The second type of grass can be used to make paper pulp, fuel, artificial flowers and grease filters.
Students from the Rajabhat Universities in the surrounding provinces have a one-day training course at the royal project. By the way, once we arrived at the site of project we were entertained with the wonderful delicious lunch by the host before the lecture. We were thankful to the hospitable staff of the project.
Continued in Next Issue
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