King Vajiralongkorn is set to give royal land title deeds worth 10 billion baht, to two universities and two schools in a ceremony at Bangkok’s Dusit Palace. The title deeds cover more than 100 rai of land along the Ratchawithi Road in Dusit district. Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University will receive deeds that cover 60 rai, while Suan Dusit University will receive deeds that cover more than 37 rai.
Anaek Laothamatas, the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Minister, says he and the university presidents will have an audience at the handover ceremony with the King and Queen at Ambara Villa in Dusit Palace. Rachawinit School, an elementary school, and Rajavinit Mathayom School, a secondary school, will also receive the deeds according to Anek.
The land on which the universities are located has an estimated value around 100 million baht per rai. There is almost 100 rai in the deed.
The lands where the universities are located were originally part of Dusit palace, but after the 1932 revolution that saw the monarchy change from absolute to constitutional, some of the land was used for educational institutions. The land where Dusit Zoo was located, which was closed on September 30, 2018, amidst a relocation venture to Pathum Thani’s Thanyaburi district, will now be used to build a public hospital.
Other land that has been repurposed includes the Royal Turf Club of Thailand’s racecourse, which will now be transformed into a public park commemorating His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The land was returned in 2018 to the Crown Property Burea, after featuring the racecourse for 102 years. Such land under the Crown Property Burea was originally allocated to building the Grand Palace, when King Rama I had it built. It was later that the royal residences expanded to the Dusit Zoo and racecourse, as well as the universities that are now situated on it.
The Suan Dusit University president, Sirote Phonphanthin, says the land where the university sits is owned by the Crown Property Bureau, which was originally owned by King Rama V. He says the university is grateful that the King attached so much importance to education. Sirote also said that he was told by the Royal Household Bureau that the King did not intend on keeping the land title deeds, rather, he wanted to give them to the universities.
The director of Rachawinit School, Supornrat Sattacthanachaiphat, agrees that the handover of the deeds was great news. The school was originally established in 1966 to educate the palace officials’ children.