A WEB PAGE entitled “Watchdog Operation” in Thai today (Mar. 6) alleged that the Phang Nga provincial administration had purchased 37 yellow elder trees for 6,090.50 baht each, totalling 225,348.50 baht, as part of a canal improvement project in front of the City Hall last year, Naewna newspaper said.
A reporter from this newspaper went to inspect the project and found that a fence had been built along a drainage canal in front of the Phang Nga provincial government centre and governor’s residence with the landscape too improved and the work now completed.
There was no sign giving details about this project and while yellow elders were planted along the walkway adjacent to the canal they were of unequal sizes. Some trees were 2.5 metres tall while others just 50 centimetres and covered with grass thus almost unrecognisable.
The reporter then went to Din Thong shop that sells plants to check the price of yellow elders and found that saplings of 50 centimetre to a metre tall were being sold at 100 baht each.
The shopkeeper, Mr. Nonthaphat Thepsathien, said a metre tall costs 100 baht. While his shop does not have bigger, two- to three-metre tall trees, those who want them could buy from local residents who have grown them in their compound for 700 to 800 baht each.
Shops in other areas might have bigger trees but they would charge for transportation depending on the distance, he added.
Top, insert and Front Page: Yellow elder trees planted in front of Phang Nga City Hall that a web page alleges were bought for over 6,000 baht each. Photos: Naewna