Farmers sue PM and ministers over damages from rice scheme

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BANGKOK, 13 February 2014 A group of 50 farmers have filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and relevant ministers for their failure to make payments in the rice pledging program while another protest by farmers has been set for February 17. 

Acting Chairman of the Thai Farmers’ Network Rawee Rungruang today represented a total of 50 rice farmers in submitting a petition along with evidence with the Civil Court over their long overdue payments which were yet to be received from the government’s rice pledging scheme.

The case was lodged against nine government officials and organizations involved, namely Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Yukol Limlaemthong, Deputy Commerce Ministers Nattawut Saikua and Yanyong Phuangrach, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the Ministry of Commerce and the Public Warehouse Organization.

The petition reportedly demanded a compensation of 19 million baht for damages incurred by the rice scheme. Mr Rawee claimed that there were indeed more than 100 unpaid farmers from many provinces who wished to join the lawsuit but some of them were not yet finished gathering their evidence. He revealed that another motion might be filed with the Criminal Court against the officials for committing fraud.

In addition, the farmers’ network is planning to demonstrate in front of the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defense on February 17 in a bid to demand progress in rice payment.