Transport operators protesting NGV fuel price hike at PTT disperse
BANGKOK, Jan 10 — Transport operators who gathered at the PTT headquarters on Vibhavadi Road to protest the natural gas for vehicles (NGV) price hike dispersed about 7pm Monday after the government agreed to set up a joint panel to resolve the problem.
Trucks, private joint city buses, taxis and passenger pickup trucks have parked their vehicles in front of the PTT Plc headquarters, paralysing traffic on Vibhavadi Road and nearby areas.
Deputy Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong told reporters after meeting with Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan and Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT) chairman Yoo Chienyuenyongpong to find a solution that the LTFT has acknowledged that the NGV cost is higher than it is sold at Bt8.50/kg and agreed the price of NGV must rise.
However, he said, both sides agreed that the exact cost of the NGV should be studied and an appropriate price be set, while truck operators want more NGV service stations in response to higher demand.
The LTFT and the government will set up joint working group to determine NGV cost and appropriate pricing, he said, adding that in the meantime the price of NGV would rise in accord with the cabinet resolution.
The cabinet on Oct 4 resolved that the NGV price would rise, from Jan 16, by 50 satang/kg monthly until the end of 2012 when it would stay at Bt14.50/kg from the present Bt8.50/kg, a 70 per cent hike.
The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) price would also increase by 41 satang/litre every month to Bt16.06/litre from the current Bt11.14/litre.
Mr Kittiratt said that he could not say that the NGV price would gradually increase to Bt6 or not as it awaits the study result, and he believed that it could be acceptable by all parties.
He apologised to truck operators that the government gave insufficient information on the NGV price hike plan to explain the price change need to them.
Meanwhile, Mr Pichai said that he expected the study would take less than one month to complete.
Mr Yoo said that he was satisfied with the result of the meeting and he believed the NGV price hike after the study would not reach Bt6 as set but may be less than Bt2/kg.
He later reported on the meeting to the protesters and announced that protesters who had gathered since 11pm Sunday would disperse at around 7pm Monday.