Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Digest of administrative changes in 2008

As the year ends soon and everyone is doing year-end retrospectives, I also join in and just like last year post a digest of the changes with respect of the administrative entities in 2008. While it was a very turbulent year in Thai politics - four different governments, the silent coup by the military not following the government, and of course all the damage done by the airport blockade. But for the actual topic of this blog not that much happened, only few things were announced in the Royal Gazette this year, most of the changes were municipal changes which so far were only published in the meeting transcripts and still wait for the official publication.

I am listing the changes by the type of entity affected instead of the chronological way these were already announced in this blog over the year.
  • Villages: The renaming of seven villages were announced.
  • Municipalities:

    • Three TAO upgrades to municipalities were announced.
    • One municipality area change was announced
  • Subdistrict: For announcements with refined definition of boundaries were published.
Not published were the most of the changes for the municipalities. The numbers I posted before already are for the fiscal year however, which begins October 1.
  • 339 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities
  • 2 TAO upgraded to town
  • 9 subdistrict municipalities upgraded to town
  • 5 municipalities were renamed
  • 26 TAO were renamed while being upgraded to municipality
Happy new year 2552...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tambon area clarification in Saraphi, Chiang Mai

Published today was an area clarification for the subdistrict (Tambon) San Sai (ตำบลสันทราย), Saraphi district, Chiang Mai province. The announcement was published in Volume 125, Issue พิเศษ 197 ง on page 21 to 23, signed on November 3 and published on December 30. Note sure if there will be anything published tomorrow, so this is likely the last announcement to be mentioned here for this year.

The only thing I can use from this announcement for my data is the village list included, giving the names of the 12 villages as follows. However actually I could have taken that list also from the website of the TAO San Sai.
หมู่ที่ ๑ บ้านสันทรายท่าช้าง
หมู่ที่ ๒ บ้านป่าสา
หมู่ที่ ๓ บ้านท่าสองแคว
หมู่ที่ ๔ บ้านศรีดอนชัย
หมู่ที่ ๕ บ้านท่ามะขาม
หมู่ที่ ๖ บ้านหนองแบน
หมู่ที่ ๗ บ้านปิงน้อยหลวง
หมู่ที่ ๘ บ้านปิงน้อย
หมู่ที่ ๙ บ้านปากคลอง
หมู่ที่ ๑๐ บ้านสันทรายมหาวงค์
หมู่ที่ ๑๑ บ้านล้องปู่หม่น
หมู่ที่ ๑๒ บ้านต้นผึ้ง

Friday, December 19, 2008

Contradicting maps

I created quite a lot of simple maps for the province and district articles on Wikipedia, to help to localize the entities geographically. However when I started to do maps showing the subdistricts (tambon) within one district, with a small number representing the geocode of the tambon, I soon ran into problems. There are just very few maps available online which show the boundaries of the administrative entities, and also the digital maps from ThinkNet only have district boundaries as the lowest level. About one year ago Google Earth started to show the subdistricts as well. But even those few map sources sometimes contradict quite strikingly.

Map of Satun-Trang boundary areaThe case which made me stop with the subdistrict maps was the north of Satun - the GIS website of the Satun provincial administration, as well as a SVG map show the district Thung Wa extending much further to the north and west than most other maps, where this area belongs to Palian district of neighboring Trang province. And even the recently added Tambon boundaries in Google Earth confirm this. The area in question is drawn in orange in the map depicted.

Later I found another location where the provincial boundaries seem to got changed, and that is Lopburi, where the district Lam Sonthi in the east of the district seems to have lost its northernmost part to Wichian Buri district in Phetchabun Province. Or maybe on the other hand this was never part of Lam Sonthi, just wrongly drawn like that. The Lopburi tourism map from TAT shows Lam Sonthi extending quite far to the north reaching till Phakdi Chumphon, whereas the 1983 topographic map of the area shows it reaching north till Si Thep district. Besides, some maps show Dan Khun Thot in Nakhon Ratchasima directly border Lam Sonthi, while others like the one I used for the map here have a small part of Sikhio between the two.

However I haven't yet found any announcements in the Royal Gazette online search which would confirm these changes, the last change with respect of provinces was done in 1984 when a village was exchanged between Yasothon and Roi Et. Right now I am quite busy with other tasks like the Royal Gazette, but I would love to find authoritative boundary maps to return to create more maps as well. And there's also the copyright issue - I somehow doubt that drawings of such administrative boundaries are copyrightable, as they are created by the government and such acts are in the Public Domain in Thailand.

I guess that the maps produced at the Royal Thai Survey Department would be authoritative, but I did not succeed in finding maps simply showing the administrative boundaries down to subdistricts level there. Yet one I could find: the map index to find the order number for the 1:50000 maps is actually a SVG file which contains all the district boundaries. That one shows Lam Sonthi even shorter, not reaching Si Thep at all. For the Satun case it confirms the larger Palian, but it completely lacks the district Manang created in 1996, so I cannot trust that map either.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Special administration area of Pattaya

Pattaya is an administrative entity unique in Thailand, though similar with the normal municipalities (Thesaban) its actual local administration is covered by a special law. This includes an elected mayor since the creation of the special area in 1978, something only adopted to the municipalities with the revision of the Thesaban act in 2000. I haven't yet found a good list of the further differences between the two administration systems.

In a 1998 issue of the Pattaya Mail it has the following short news.
In a very short time, Pattaya will become a self-governing 'Thesaban Nakorn', or city. This is due to the failure experienced during Pattaya's 20 years as a 'special city'. The government has seen fit to 'move backward' and make Pattaya a 'Thesaban Nakorn' to which Thai people are accustomed.
Apparently this change of the city status was not done, as still today it has its special status. It is a pity there are no further details on this plan in that article, especially interesting to know why it was skipped.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

8th national and social development plan of Thailand

Some quotes from the 8th national and social development plan of Thailand (1997-2001), to be exact I am quoting from Part IV "Enhancing the development potential of the regions and rural areas to promote better quality of life" , Chapter 4 "Regional and Rural Development Administration", Paragraph 1 "General Development Administration", on Page 71-72).
1.7 Enhance the capabilities of local administrative organizations, particularly tambon administrative councils, so that they can more effectively implement the policy of decentralization of prosperity.

(1) The government should act as a supporter to enhance the capabilities of local administrative organizations, and cooperate with them in the elimination of certain problems which it is beyond their present capabilities to deal with independently.

(2) The Master Plan for Local Financial Management and the Master Plan for Monetary and Fiscal Policies for Social Development should be implemented in order to encourage decentralization of benefits of development to local areas and hasten fiscal reforms, particularly the collection of taxes based on actual circumstances. Under this reform, local administrative organizations should gain sufficient revenue to finance the economic and social development of their respective communities.

(3) Support should be provided to local administrative organizations in terms of personnel, budget and necessary equipment, so as to facilitate implementation of the policy of decentralization of prosperity.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

City pillar shrines outside provincial towns

City pillar shrine of TrangWhen I wrote about the city pillar shrines the first time, I shortly mentioned the three cases I knew where it had a city pillar shrine not located in a provincial capital. By some random googleing I found the blog of Sing, and while introducing his hometown Kantharalak he also posted photos of the city pillar shrine there. This now makes it the fourth of these shrines not in the provincial capital.
  • Phra Pradaeng, Samut Prakan. The city pillar shrine is quite old already, and continued to exist after the province was abolished in 1932.
  • Trang's city pillar shrine (see photo) is still located at the original location of the town, which was moved first to the coast and later further inland at the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Mae Sai, Chiang Rai. Might date back to the time when Mae Sai was a Mueang (though not one reporting directly to Bangkok) and not yet incorporated into Chiang Rai province as a district.
  • Kantharalak, Sisaket. Might be similarily old, according to Kantharalak goes back to Mueang Uthumphon Phisai.
Below is a Google Map with the location of those shrines I either visited already, or could proof the location. On a scrapbook at Wikipedia I already collected more, including information on the history of each building though that is hard to find without reading Thai. Though that page is not an article, it can be edited by anyone like almost every page on Wikipedia, so if you can share information you're welcome to put it right there. I have also created a photo album with all my city pillar shrine photos.

View Larger Map

Monday, December 15, 2008

Samui Express mixing up local and central government

When I wrote about misconceptions on the Thai administrative structures shortly ago, this was done by a foreigner who did not research enough and fell into some traps I fell myself at first as well, like the confusion of "tambon" vs. "thesaban tambon". But - I just discovered that the newspaper Samui Express made it even worse when they reported about municipal upgrade.

The article was published on October 20, just four month after the upgrade actually happened. Just to quote the worst parts
Up until June 2008, the island was an amphoe (district) of Suratthani province, then subdivided into seven sub- districts (tambon) with the complete island being one municipality, or sub district. Now, the sub-district has been changed to “town municipality.”
The island still is a Amphoe (district) and is still subdivided into 7 subdistricts now. The only small truth hidden in it is the fact that the subdistrict headmen (kamnan) lost their position, together with the village headmen (phu yai ban), but still the subdistrict and villages are kept.
In the past, Koh Samui reported as a “sub-district” to Suratthani, rather than Bangkok. While still operating as a “sub-district,” one of 19 in the province of Suratthani, Samui submitted the request be made a “city.”. However, that request was revoked and instead, the “town” municipality status was granted.
Completely mixing up the structures here. 19 is the number of district within Surat Thani province, of which Samui was and still is one. The number of subdistrict municipalities however was 21 (there are now 22, since 2 were newly created in July), together with 2 towns and one city. I made a very complete post about the local government in Surat Thani in May. While mixing up the facts, the article mentions the fact that at first city status was planned, but it was changed to town status - but it fails to state interesting part, the reasons for this change. I am quite disappointed to read such a nonsense in a Thai newspaper, the only excuse I can find is the fact that the article was written by an expat and not by a Thai, but even an expat should research more before writing an article and spreading such wrong information.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Geotagging blog posts

Google now added a new feature to the Blogger website which I was missing ever since I started blogging, especially once I started with my Travel blog - geotagging blog postings. A blog posting can be related to one specific location, so it makes a lot of sense adding this metainformation in a machine readable format to the posting. It not only helps users to have an easy way to get to a map of the area, it also makes it possible to search the other way round - which blog postings are related to the area I am interested in. Given the fact that Google has two great mapping tools - Google Maps and the Google Earth software, and also several other sites in the Google universe already allow to geotag contents - most notably the photo site Panoramio, but also the second photo site Picasa, even Youtube videos can be geotagged. So it was only a matter of time until they added it to Blogger, though I wished they did it earlier. Actually, it is not yet fully there, right now it is only available in the testing Blogger Draft engine, but that means I can already use it now.

I have already tagged all of the postings in my travel blog, and also in this blog all those specific for one location. For some the location is only approximate, like when I write about a specific municipality but don't know the exact location of its office which would be the best choice for a "central point". There are also few cases where I could not add a geotag yet, like the recent Muban renamed - I simply cannot find that one on any map...

Since there is still a small bug in the feed generated - the namespace for GeoRSS isn't included and thus GoogleMaps does not recognize it as a feed with geotags - the map below is created from the feed of my travel blog patched to make it show in GoogleMaps. But I am confident that this bug will be fixed soon and you can use the feeds of my blogs in whatever geographical mashups you can imagine...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Local administrative unit changes in 2008

On the same page where I got lists of the TAO and municipalities before, there's now a PDF with the numbers of all the local administrative units, both for the whole country and also listed for each province, all as of August 15 2008. It also includes the whole list of municipal changes which happened in the last fiscal year. If I haven't done any mistakes, all those changes listed in concise way in this document should be listed in the postings at the thesabanupdates blog already, but of course I will go through all of the manually as well. While the first pages of the PDF are simply a scan, the list of changes can be copied and thus processed much more effectively.

The numbers of entities for the whole country are as follows - for comparison the corresponding list for last year is found here
  • PAO - 75 entities
  • Thesaban - 1619 entities
    • Thesaban Nakhon - 23 entities
    • Thesaban Mueang - 140 entities
    • Thesaban Tambon - 1456 entities
  • TAO - 6157 entities
  • Special Administrative Entities - 2 (Bangkok and Pattaya)
  • Total - 7853 entities
As for the changes in the last fiscal year, there are 9 subdistrict municipalities upgraded to towns, two TAO upgraded to towns, and 339 TAO to subdistrict municipalities. Also 5 municipalities changed name in the last fiscal year. Something not explained in the document - several of the upgrades are marked with an asterisk, and this probably means that additional with the upgrade the municipality was renamed as well.

As the PDF also includes the changes in two previous fiscal years, I have copied all of them into a spreadsheet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tambon creations in the 1970s

I finished the subdistrict creations in the 1970s faster than expected, also thanks to the fact that the mean annual number of creations was lower than since 1978.

There are a total of 409 announcements, which cover 794 newly created subdistricts. Sorted by year the subdistrict announced are as follows:
  • 1979: 153 subdistricts in 76 announcements
  • 1978: 111 subdistricts in 60 announcements
  • 1977: 50 subdistricts in 37 announcements
  • 1976: 62 subdistricts in 44 announcements
  • 1975: 63 subdistricts in 27 announcements
  • 1974: 50 subdistricts in 35 announcements
  • 1973: 55 subdistricts in 34 announcements
  • 1972: 48 subdistricts in 34 announcements
  • 1971: 102 subdistricts in 34 announcements
  • 1970: 100 subdistricts in 28 announcements
The province in which most subdistricts were created is Nakhon Ratchasima with 49. The highest number of muban in a newly created subdistrict was 20 with the creation of Wang Muang (ตำบลวังม่วง), Muak Lek district, Saraburi province. In four cases a new subdistrict consisted of just two muban - Ruam Chit (ตำบลร่วมจิต), Mueang Uttaradit district, Uttaradit province; Sap Takhian (ตำบลซับตะเคียน) and Chai Narai (ตำบลชัยนารายณ์), Chai Badan district, Lopburi province; Tha Sawan (ตำบลท่าสวรรค์), Mueang Loei district, Loei province. The most common number of muban in a new subdistrict was 6, a bit lower than the mean value of 7.6, with a standard deviation is 0.9.

Counting the number of parent subdistricts shows that in most cases it was just a single subdistrict which was split.
  • 1 parent - 703 times
  • 2 parents - 66 times
  • 3 parents - 24 times
  • 4 parents - 1 times

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Muban rename in Nan

Published in the Royal Gazette on December 4 was the rename of one village (muban) in Bo subdistrict, Mueang district, Nan province. (Volume 125, Issue 107 ง, Page 241)

The name was changed from Ban Sala Phu Wiang (บ้านสะละภูเวียง) to Ban Sara Suksan (บ้านสาระสุขสันต์). The text of the announcement only says that the initiative to change the name came from the district, which submitted it to the province, and then to the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA). The committee responsible for deciding name changes of provinces, district, subdistricts, villages and other official places (คณะกรรมการพิจารณาเรื่อง การขอเปลี่ยนแปลงชื่อจังหวัด อำเภอ
และตำบล หมู่บ้าน หรือสถานที่ราชการอื่น ๆ) then approved the proposed name change in its meeting 4/2008 (๔/๒๕๕๑) on June 30. However, it does not contain the rationale on why the new name was chosen or the name change was considered necessary.

As a side-note - the XLS sheet with the villages in Nan submitted by DOPA to to be updated by the local authorities still lists the old name.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Highest number of Muban ever, Part 2

Earlier I noted that subdistrict Tak Fa in Nakhon Sawan had 52 muban. But I now know that wasn't the highest number ever, as I now came across a new record number.

In 1961, the subdistricts Sida and Phon Thong were split off from Kut Chok, Bua Yai district, Nakhon Ratchasima (Volume 78, Issue 52 ง, Page 1512-1518, published on June 27 1961). And the highest village number listed in the announcement is 57, which became village 11 of Sida. However this is not the same as the current village 11 of Sida, as when the subdistrict Nong Tat Yai was created in 1985, village 11 became village 1 of Nong Tat Yai. And it's even not sure that village 11 in 1985 was the same as village 11 in 1961, in case villages got reassigned from Sida the numbers may have changed in the time period. This is the problem with the geocodes for the muban...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Father's Day

Today is the birthday of HM the King, and as he is regarded as the father of the nation it is also the official Father's Day in Thailand. Related to this is the custom to call notable persons "Father of something", depending on which field they had the accomplishments. Though this is not limited to Thailand, I have come across it most often for Thai personalities.

Since this blog is about the Thai administration, the first one I have to mention is Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. He is called "Father of Thai administration", as during his time as the first Interior Minister he created the administrative subdivisions still in use today. But in fact this is not the only field in which he is regarded as the "father". The second one is "Father of Thai history", as after his resignation as minister in 1915 he concentrated on his passion, even though he was never formally educated as an historian. His only major work still in print in any English translation is the book "Our Wars with the Burmese", but only first of two volumes, the second never got translated. The other book "Monuments of The Buddha in Siam" sadly is long out of print. A few shorter contributions were published by the Siam Society in their Journal. But his is not just the father of two fields - he also is called Father of the education system and the health system, as both fields were originally part of the portfolio of the Interior Ministry, and have developed a lot during the reforms at the turn of the century.

The following is just a random and probably very incomplete list of other personalities with the field of their "fathership", some I knew before while other I just found with Google now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Full list of Bangkok governor candidates

The preparations for the second take of the Bangkok gubernatorial elections are still underway despite the ever increasing political chaos in Bangkok. The usual registration phase of one week was cut short by one day as tomorrow is a national holiday - the birthday of HM the King. The elections will be held on January 11.

The following candidates have registered themselves for the election.
  1. Mr. Sumet Tanthanasirikul (สุเมธ ตันธนาศิริกุล), Krung Thep Phatthana Party
  2. MR Sukhumbhand Paripatra (ม.ร.ว.สุขุมพันธุ์ บริพัตร), Democratic Party
  3. Mrs. Leena Jungjanja (ลีนา จังจรรจา)
  4. Mrs. Thoranee Ritthithammarong (ธรณี ฤทธีธรรมรงค์)
  5. Mr. Kongjak Chaidee (กงจักร ใจดี)
  6. Capt. Metha Temchamnarn (เมตตา เต็มชำนาญ), Klummet Tatham Party
  7. Mr. Issara Amornvech (อิสระ อมรเวช)
  8. ML Nattakorn Devakula (ม.ล.ณัฐกรณ์ เทวกุล)
  9. Mr. Witthaya Jangkobpattana (วิทยา จังกอบพัฒนา)
  10. Mr. Yuranan Pamornmontri (ยุรนันท์ ภมรมนตรี), Puea Thai Party
  11. Mr. Thanchai Rungchinrot (ธรรณม์ชัย รุ่งจิรโรจน์)
  12. Mr. Kaewsan Atibhoti (แก้วสรร อติโพธิ)
It seems this time the race will be much more interesting than in the first time, when incumbent governor Apirak Kosayothin was the clear favorite contestant right from the beginning. Yet those few candidates who already failed miserably in the first round, like Leena Jungjanja, will have no chance again this time.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Elected TAO chairmen

It's good that the National News Bureau of Thailand keeps all the old news reports on their site, so that Google can find some gems in between them. Like this one titled "House of Representatives Passes Bill to Have TAMBON Organization Chiefs Directly Elected"
The House of Representatives approved legislation on October 1 [2003] to have chiefs of TAMBON Administration Organization directly elected.

MPs cast a unanimous vote for the legislation under which TAO chiefs will be elected by TAMBON residents instead of TAO members as long as basic democratic rule is concerned.

Meanwhile , the size of population under the care of the TAO remains at a minimum of 2,000 people, though the extraordinary House committee in charge of revising the bill had earlier suggested there be as many as 4,000 people in one TAMBON.

One TAMBON might otherwise be merged with another so the size of the local unit could grow to a minimum of 4,000 villagers.

House committee chairman CHAMLONG KRUTKUNTOD said his panel had merely intended to see a stronger local unit but did not object to a downsized 2,000.
I did not know that the TAO chairmen (นายกองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล) were directly elected, I just knew that this was changed for the mayors of the municipalities sometime after 2000. Also, the minimum population number for a TAO was new to me, though the report contains a minor mistake - not the Tambon will get merged, only the TAO which will then be responsible for more than one Tambon.

Looking into my Gazette database, I notice that several TAO were in fact merged in either a neighboring TAO or a neighboring municipality in 2004, also several of the remaining Tambon Councils (TC) were either upgraded to TAO or merged into an already existing one.

And if I am not totally mistaken, the act talked about in that news report is the "Tambon Council and Tambon administrative organization act (Issue 5) of 2003" (พระราชบัญญัติสภาตำบลและองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล (ฉบับที่ ๕) พ.ศ. ๒๕๔๖), which was published in Royal Gazette in Dezember 2003.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Requirements for the thesaban levels

I had raised the question here shortly ago, and now Rikker could answer it simply by reading the law texts accessible via the Royal Gazette online database. All these information I was unable to find in English anywhere, and now he updated the corresponding Wikipedia article including the links to the law texts, so now these facts are easily accessible for non-Thai as well.
  • Thesaban Nakhon (City)
    • 1934: Population of 30,000, population density of 1,000 per km²
    • 1939: Population of 30,000, population density of 2,000 per km², and sufficient income
    • 1953: Population of 30,000, population density of 3,000 per km², and sufficient income
    • 2000: Population of 30,000 and sufficient income
  • Thesaban Mueang (Town)
    • 1934: Population of 3,000, population density of 1,000 per km²
    • 1939: Population of 5,000, population density of 2,000 per km², and sufficient income
    • 1953: Population of 10,000, population density of 3,000 per km², and sufficient income
    • 2000: Population of 10,000 and sufficient income

However for the subdistrict municipalities (thesaban tambon) the requirements are not fixed in the law texts itself. It would of course be good to know where and how these were defined, and how these have developed since the first Thesaban act of 1934.

At least this answers one of the points which were odd to me on the upgrade of Ko Samui to town status earlier this year. As I did not know that the population density requirement was dropped in 2000 with the 11th amendment of the Thesaban act, I thought it cannot qualify for this status. It's a pity my Thai language skills are improving so slowly, as this example shows again how many questions could easily be answered by reading Thai sources.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Outstanding district officer award

Today the governor of the Department of Local Administration (DOPA) will (or probably already has) given an award to several district officers (Nai Amphoe, นายอำเภอ). The award is named นายอำเภอของประชาชน, which translates to "district officer of the people" and is awarded annually.

The ceremony is presided by the Interior Minister Kowit Wattana (โกวิท วัฒนะ), which seem somewhat strange to me as I would think the Interior Minister, who is in charge of the police, would have much more urgent problems to solve right now than to give this award to his subordinates. Or is the government already so much humiliated that they just wait the party dissolution verdict tomorrow, or the birthday speech of HM the King, and use their last days in office for the more enjoyable tasks?

In total four district officers are awarded, one for each region.
  • Northern Thailand: Thongchai Toeti (นายธงชัย เตยะธิติ), Phichai district, Uttaradit province
  • Central Thailand: Phawat Loetmukda (นายภวัต เลิศมุกดา), Khlong Yai district, Trat province
  • Northeastern Thailand: Sarit Saisophon (นายสฤษดิ์ ไสยโสภณ), Nong Wua So district, Udon Thani province
  • Southern Thailand: Khwanchat Suphranan (นายขวัญชาติ วงศ์ศุภรานันท์), Thepha district, Songkhla province
Biographies and photos of these officers are on a special page which lists the winners for 13 regions, apparently those four awarded today were chosen among these 13 officers.