Demolition work begins to transform prison into holy park

January 27, 2013
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Demolition work began yesterday on a former women’s prison in Chiang Mai’s downtown area to pave the way for the construction of a religious park.

A dismantling ceremony was held at 1pm yesterday. Members of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group gathered at the prison compound and helped workers remove bricks from the prison’s wall and buildings.

They said the demolition order came from Pechawat Wattanapongsirikul, an adviser to Social Development and Human Security Minister Santi Prompat, and a leader of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group.

The group said a Buddhist park, or Buddhamonthon, would replace the prison compound.

The park would cost about 1.2 billion baht to build, the group said.

The project, which is expected to be completed in one year, will be supervised by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of National Buddhism.

The prison once housed female prisoners. The Corrections Department later transferred them to a new facility on Chiang Mai’s outskirts, leaving the compound uninhabited.

A plot of 37 rai within the compound will be developed for the park, where a Buddha image will be placed to mark 2,600 years since Buddha Jayanti _ the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.

Mr Pechawat said Chiang Mai Muang’s district office next to the prison will also be removed, paving the way for a new housing structure.

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