Farmers sue gov’t in Civil Court, seek Bt19m compensation

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The first group of 50 farmers filed a lawsuit with the Civil Court last week against the government for failing to pay for the rice they delivered under the subsidy scheme and demanded Bt19 million compensation.

Ravee Rungruang, acting chairman of the Thai Farmers Network, produced farmers’ receipts for their delivered rice, charging the government with breaching the agreement under the rice pledging scheme.

Under the scheme, the government would buy rice from farmers at Bt15,000 per tonne. Upon delivering rice to millers, farmers were given receipts to be cashed with the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).

Farmers in many provinces have not received payments since September.

Ravee said the second batch of 180 farmers would file similar lawsuit with the Civil Court soon after having waited for overdue payments since November.

The farmers are from several rice-planting provinces including Pichit, Nakhon Sawan, Ratchaburi and Petchaburi and the highest debt per household was about Bt300,000, he said.

He said farmers would also file fraud charges against the government in the Criminal Court.

Rut Netiwan, one of the lawyers who accompanied farmers to the court, said the lawsuits will be against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Agriculture Minister Yukol Limlaemthong, Deputy Commerce Ministers Nattawut Saikua and Yanyong Puangrach, the Commerce Ministry, BAAC and Public Warehouse Organisation.