V/Gov Chokdee ordered Wiphada Darunpong, a Policy and Planning Specialist from the Phuket Excise Office, to redraw the map marking out the alcohol-free zones at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall.
“Some of the zones allow venues as close as 10 to 20 metres from a school,” V/Gov Chokdee noted.
The initial order issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) mandated that no alcohol be sold within 300 metres of any “educational institution”.
Ms Wiphada explained that the zones were intentionally marked out to account for local geographic aspects.
“Some schools are close to steep hills, while others are close to canals or government housing estates, so we did not mark out a standard distance from each school,” she said.
Regardless, V/Gov Chokdee said, “Redraw the map with 300-metre zones and we will review it again. I want to see (alcohol sold) at least some distance from schools.”
V/Gov Chokdee highlighted the example of Phuket Rajabhat University, which has a one-kilometre “alcohol-free” zone that zone was created by authorities signing an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with local residents and business owners.
“I am not asking for zones to be that big, but we would like to see at least some action taken,” V/Gov Chokdee said
“I understand that one kilometre may be too difficult in reality, but we need to set a standard, so I would like the Excise Office to re-design the plan and set up 300m zones around schools,” he added.
Looking to the future, V/Gov Chokdee said that after the zones had been set, local committees will be formed and held responsible for enforcing the booze-free zones around schools in their ambits.
“Such committees will include the area’s District Chief or Mayor, the local police chief, members of the Provincial Civil Defence Office as well as Phu Yai Baan and Kamnan (village and subdistrict chiefs),” he said.
“When done, we have to make sure that the new model can be fully enforced. We need some special force to do that,” V/Gov Chokdee added.