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The island of Koh Lon, off Phuket, site for the Taj Exotica

Phuket Governor Halts Big $$$ Taj Exotica Project

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Koh Lon Photo Album Above

THE GOVERNOR of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-nob, has halted 17 of 39 building projects, including the Taj Exotica, which is expected to set new high-end standards for resorts in the Andaman region.

In the case of the Taj, to be erected on Koh Lon, a small island off the popular south-island holiday destination of Rawai, the governor says the developers have followed every step correctly, but he wants to conduct more research regarding the environmental impact.

''I am certain there will be environmental consequences from this project,'' he said. ''It's within my power to seek to look at this again.''

The development has both IEE and Environmental Impact Assessment approvals.

''The IEE and the EIA do not cover all the potential problems,'' the governor said. ''And once the project begins in earnest, there is no control over issues that spring up as a consequence.''

Villagers who live on Koh Lon and other islands off the coast of Phuket have grown more anxious about development because of the unforseen consequences of existing construction projects.

''If we do not check the details properly, the danger is that there is no restoring the area if damage is done.''

Of the 39 projects the governor has been asked to check, 22 have been approved, with the proviso that 13 still need environmental impact studies.

The other nine can begin construction. The 39 consist of resorts, condominiums, shophouses and villa developments.

Seventeen projects are still in need of further documentation. This can involve land titles or other essential information.

The 121 villas of the Taj Exotica, to be set across 136 rai, could reach new record highs at a cost of $900,000 a key, according to those who have seen details of planning. That will be sumptuous accommodation.

It is believed that the initial application was for a smaller project.

Villagers on Koh Lon are now offering homestays to try to bring more jobs and income to the island. The small island community of 80 families has been losing its young adults to the tourism industry.

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