Yingluck away again to Northeast

CHIANG MAI - Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's tour of the provinces continues next week with the northeastern region as her next destination.

Caretaker Interior Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan said on Thursday Ms Yingluck will visit drought-hit areas in northeastern provinces.

Wiboon Sanguanpong, permanent secretary for interior, said details have not been confirmed. The caretaker prime minister planned a follow-up of the situation from a meeting in Chiang Mai. All governors in the region could be called for a meeting with Ms Yingluck, he added.

Drought and forest fires were the issues in talks between the caretaker prime minister and officials in Chiang Mai on Thursday.

Buri Ram, Maha Sarakham, Khon Kaen and Si Sa Ket are four northeastern provinces that have declared emergency areas due to a shortage of water, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut criticised her visit, saying Ms Yingluck was avoiding tackling delayed rice payments for farmers in the rice-pledging scheme and a meeting with the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Ms Yingluck sent her lawyers to acknowledge the graft fighting agency's charges of dereliction of duty by ignoring warnings about corruption in the scheme. Ms Yingluck chairs the National Rice Policy Committee, which oversees the programme.

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