Uttaradit farmers still blocking road to press for rice payment

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UTTARADIT, Jan 21 – Farmers from the northern province of Uttaradit have blocked Highway No 11 since Monday morning, demanding the government to pay them for the crops they pledged to the government stockpiles under the controversial rice-pledging scheme.

Inbound and outbound lanes of Highway No 11, the main highway passing through Uttaradit province, which has been blocked by cash-strapped farmers, are still clogged with tents and trucks, causing snarled traffic across the province.

Provincial police have been instructed to facilitate all road users.

The farmers, led by Jeerapong Panpetch, said even though the government has promised to transfer Bt44 million in advance, rice growers would still block the Uttaradit traffic until they receive total  payment of 3.41 billion baht. The demonstrators also demand a meeting with decision makers from government sector to discuss how the problem could be solved.