Kittiratt flees angry farmers

Disgruntled farmers on Monday evening booed and threw objects at caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, after he failed to give a clear answer on when the authorities would begin paying growers for rice sold under the pledging scheme.

The incident occurred after a one hour meeting to discuss long-overdue rice payments between Mr Kittiratt and farmers' representatives led by Rawee Rungruang at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence. 

Mr Rawee, who is acting chairman of Thai Farmers Network, said farmers accepted the government’s offer of paying an average of four billion baht per day to farmers owed cash, but wanted Mr Kittiratt to give assurances on the exact dates of payments. 

Mr Rawee asked Mr Kittiratt to address protesting farmers in person outside the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence. 

He admitted that some farmers support the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) but asked them to stay calm while listening to Mr Kittiratt’s explanation of when they would be paid. 

Mr Kittiratt got off to a bad start when he kept the farmers waiting for more than 10 minutes because he was giving a live telephone interview to Sorayuth Suthassanachinda for the popular Ruang Den Yen Nee news programme on Channel 3.

When he finally addressed rice growers, the minister repeated that the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) would pay an average of four billion baht per day to unpaid farmers but did not say when payments would start, merely insisting that every farmer involved in the rice-pledging scheme would receive the full amount owed to them based on their rice-pledging documents. 

At one point, Mr Kittiratt was interrupted by farmers who demanded he say exactly when the payments would be made, as opposed to talking about the procedural side of the scheme. But he could not answer the crucial question, prompting protesters to boo him and throw water bottles, fruits and shoes in his direction. 

Some protesters tried to approach him and shouted “get out, get out” as Mr Kittiratt quickly concluded his address. "That is all I have to clarify. Thank you," he said, before fleeing the scene.

Reports said the minister almost broke into a run and looked panicked as he was escorted back into the building by security guards.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 18/02/2014 at 10:14 AM
Having to confront these angry farmers who are very down to earth and direct in their complains and legitimate demands, I think that the government will start to like the peaceful anti-government protesters...
Discussion 2 : 18/02/2014 at 08:36 AM
This defining moment could be the beginning of the end for PTP........Yingluck take the hint and resign your team is finished.
Discussion 3 : 18/02/2014 at 08:02 AM
What a wonderful news article! YS next please would be icing on the cake.
Discussion 4 : 18/02/2014 at 07:45 AM
Why are these pheu thai people not feeling ashamed of what they have done? Running away from the people that have supported you? Absolutely disgrace to themselves.
Discussion 5 : 18/02/2014 at 06:43 AM
It says a lot that the Red Shirts almost consistently resort to violence compared to the PDRC protesters who have been relatively peaceful.
Discussion 6 : 18/02/2014 at 06:32 AM
If you are a Minister of a government, which is known for telling "distortions of the truth" and corruption, and which is run by a convicted fugitive, you have to take the rough with the smooth.
Discussion 7 : 18/02/2014 at 06:18 AM
Did I not hear someone say that money would be paid to farmers on MONDAY...? Or was I asleep and just hearing voices...?
Discussion 8 : 18/02/2014 at 04:22 AM
Great news article. Funny to see him R U N N I N G from the crowd.
Discussion 9 : 18/02/2014 at 03:18 AM
The PTP just bit the hand that took care of them. You can support them all you want but I think you'll be seeing the last days of the PTP. Only the Red shirts love'em but that's what the Red Shorts want...corruption. Explain this, if the Red shirts claim they want Democracy and the Democrats want Democracy why can't both sides agree? Only difference I see is the corruption. Just what is the true "platform" of the Red Shirts? What do they really want? I think they really don't know or are not educated to know the differences. What type of society do they want? Communist, Socialist, or Democracy? Someone please explained this?
Discussion 10 : 18/02/2014 at 01:32 AM
What this article fails to mention for some reason is that Yingluck was supposed to meet them but simply failed to show up. Seems like she only shows up if people are expected to cheer and applaud. I find it endlessly amusing that so many people in Thailand think she is doing a good job.
Discussion 11 : 18/02/2014 at 12:36 AM
I won´t want to have his job for the moment.
Discussion 12 : 18/02/2014 at 12:24 AM
A man reaps what he sowed!
Discussion 13 : 17/02/2014 at 10:38 PM
Really not an unreasonable question

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