Ministry promises talks with angry farmers | Bangkok Post: learning

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Ministry promises talks with angry farmers (Updated)

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Tired of talking with government officials who have no decision-making power, unpaid farmers want to talk to the bosses. They may get their chance today. 

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Protesting farmers may get their chance to talk to government ministers today, but it is not clear if one of them will be the prime minister. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Updates

15:20

A rice farmer outside the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence shows her unpaid rice pledging agreement with the government. CHANAT KATANYU

A short while ago, a large group of farmers went from the Justice Ministry to the temporary cabinet headquarters at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence. A number of their leaders were invited in to meet with Caretaker Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan, his deputy Nattawut Saikua and Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Varathep Rattanakorn.

The meeting ended abruptly when the farmers, dissatisfied with what they said was "nothing new", walked out. Some said they were particularly unhappy when the government representatives suggested negotiations for bank loans were being complicated by the political protests. The farmers were angered when it was suggested that they, too, talk with the banks. That, they said, was the government's responsibility. The farmers were also said to be unhappy when Mr Varathep said it was not possible to say when the farmers would be paid. If that was the case, they should resign, one of the farm leaders reportedly said.

The farmers have now gone back to the Ministry of Commerce where they have been staying and are reportedly going to discuss ways of increasing the pressure on the government.

13:00

This group of farmers, many from Pichit, has now reached the Justice Ministry. TAWATCHAI KhEMGUMNERD

A large group of protesting farmers were moving from in front of the Commerce Ministry at Sanambin Nam in Nonthaburi to the Justice Ministry at the government offices complex on Chaeng Wattana road, reports said.

At the Justice Ministry, the farmers would submit a petition against the government for its failure to pay for rice they pledged under a government programme.

They would then proceed to the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence which the cabinet has used as a temporary office to demand that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her ministers accept  responsibility.

Suthep Thuagsuban leads a march collecting donations to support legal efforts of rice farmers to sue government leaders. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

Meanwhile, a large number of People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)'s protesters led by Suthep Thaugsuban has left BTS skytrain station at Ekamai on a march to raise cash to help farmers fund their legal efforts against the government.

They have now marched down Ekamai to Phetchaburi Road and have entered Thong Lor. From there, they will go back to  Sukhumvit and then return to the Asok intersection.

A similar march on Friday in the Silom area was reported to have raised 9.2 million baht to help the farmers.

Ministry to host talks with protesting farmers

Manop Thip-Osod

Caretaker Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan plans to hold talks with protesting farmers at the ministry today to address grievances caused by delays in payments for pledged rice.

The farmers, who have been rallying at the Commerce Ministry since Thursday, plan to move their protest to the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence today.

Mr Boonsong said he was contacting the farmers for talks and was ready to negotiate with them at the Commerce Ministry.

Prasit Boonchuey, president of the Thai Farmers Association, said earlier that the group will rally at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence, where the cabinet members temporarily work, to demand the government pays up.

In some good news for the government, National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut said today's gathering of the farmers would only be a symbolic demonstration and they will not stay long there.

He said the farmers have come to Bangkok only to call for money owed to them under the rice pledging scheme.

They do not have a political agenda like the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protesters.

Rawee Rungruang, leader of a network of rice farmers from western provinces, affirmed their rallies are not political and the farmers only want the government to pay them for the rice.

According to Mr Rawee, their past petitions with provincial governors concerning the delayed payments have yielded no result as local authorities do not have the power to handle the issue. Only the government could help.

"We want to talk with people in the government because they have power in making decisions, and that is why we came to the Commerce Ministry," said Mr Rawee. He added his group has raised 800,000 baht to take care of farmers suffering due to delayed payments. The amount does not include the fund from the PDRC.

Wallop Pitchyapongsa, vice president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the rice pledging scheme has caused the government to hold a large amount of rice in its stockpile.

They cannot hold the rice stock forever due to a lack of financial support, he said. "The government must release the rice stockpile to get money to pay farmers, but it may have to take some time to do so," Mr Wallop said.

Vocabulary:

abruptly: suddenly and unexpectedly, and often unpleasant - อย่างกะทันหัน

address: to deal with a problem - จัดการปัญหา

affirm: to say or show that something is true - ยืนยัน, รับรอง

agenda: a list of aims or possible future achievements - วาระ

association: an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม

authority: a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ

cabinet: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี

cabinet members: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี

caretaker: in charge for a short time, until a new leader or government is chosen - รักษาการ

cash: money - เงินสด

commerce minister: the minister in charge of the Commerce Ministry - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงพาณิชย์

complex: an area that has several parts - พื้นที่ประกอบด้วยส่วนต่าง ๆ

complicate: to make something more difficult to deal with, do or understand - ทำให้ยาก, ทำให้ซับซ้อน

concerning: about - เกี่ยวกับ

contact: to communicate with someone - ติดต่อ

delay: causing to happen at a later time; happening at a later time than expected - การเลื่อน, ช้ากว่าปกติ

demand: to ask for something very firmly - เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ

demonstration: an occasion when a group of people gather together to support or protest about something - การชุมนุม

deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

due to: because of - เนื่องจาก

export: the selling and transporting of goods to another country - สินค้าออก, การส่งสินค้าออกไปต่างประเทศ

financial: involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน

forever: for all time in the future, or for as long as you can imagine - ตลอดไป

fund: money provided for something - เงินทุน กองทุน

gathering: an occasion when many people come together as a group - การรวมตัว, การประชุม

grievances: complaints about being treated in an unfair way - ความคับข้องใจ

handle: to be able deal with a situation - ควบคุมได้, จัดการได้

headquarters: the place where an organisation or company has its main offices - กองบัญชาการ

host: to provide the space and other things necessary for a special event - ทำหน้าที่เป็นเจ้าภาพ, เป็นผู้จัดรายการ

intersection: a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other - สี่แยก

issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น

lack of: when there is not enough of something - ขาด

legal: relating to the law or lawyers; correct according to the law - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย ตามกฎหมาย

loan: an amount of money that a person, business, or country borrows, especially from a bank - เงินกู้

local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

Ministry of Justice (Justice Ministry): the ministry in charge of the criminal justice system, running prisons, aiding the Royal Thai Police and running the government's drug and narcotic control policies - กระทรวงยุติธรรม

National Security Council: a government body which deals with security matters that require cabinet action or present a serious threat to the country's sovereignty - สำนักงานสภาความมั่นคงแห่งชาติ

negotiate: to try to reach an agreement by discussing something in a formal way - เจรจาต่อรอง

network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย

owe: to be required to give someone money for something you have bought or money that you have borrowed from them - เป็นหนี้

PDRC: People's Democratic Reform Committee, an anti-government protest group, headed by Suthep Thuagsuban - กปปส. คณะกรรมการประชาชนเพื่อการเปลี่ยนแปลงประเทศไทยให้เป็นประชาธิปไตยที่สมบูรณ์ อันมีพระมหากษัตริย์ทรงเป็นประมุข.

permanent secretary: a government official, not a political appointee, in charge of a ministry - ปลัดกระทรวง

petition: a request of someone in authority to do something - คำร้อง

pledge rice: to sell rice to the government at a particular price, with the right to reclaim the rice if the market price goes higher - จำนำข้าว

pressure: trying to make someone do something by forcing, threatening, or persuading them in a determined way - ความกดดัน, แรงกระตุ้น, การบีบบังคับ

proceed: to move or travel in a particular direction - เดินทางไปยัง

protest: to make a strong complaint or disagreement - ประท้วง

raise (money): to collect money for something -

rally: to join a public meeting that a lot of people go to in order to support someone or protest against someone or something - ชุมนุม

release: to make something available to the public - นำออกแสดง, ออกวางจำหน่าย

release: the act of making something available to the public - การนำออกแสดง, การออกวางจำหน่าย

reportedly: as reported (often used for showing that you are not certain that something you are reporting is true) - ตามที่รายงาน

representative: someone who has been chosen or elected by a person or group to vote, give opinions, or make decisions for them - ผู้แทน

resign: to leave a job permanently - ลาออกจากตำแหน่ง

responsibility: deserving to be blamed for something that has happened - ความรับผิดชอบ

rice pledging scheme: a government programme in which a fixed price, in this case well above the market price, is offered to rice farmers for their harvested rice - การจำนำข้าว

secretary-general: the person who is in charge of the department that deals with the running of a large international or political organisation - เลขาธิการ, เลขาธิการใหญ่

stock: an amount of something that you keep so that you can use it when you need it - ที่เก็บไว้ในสต๊อก

stockpile: a large collection of things that may be needed - สิ่งที่เก็บสะสมไว้ คลังสินค้า

submit a petition: to formally give a document signed by many people to someone in power asking them to do something - ยื่นคำร้อง

suffer: to experience something very unpleasant or painful - ประสบ

symbolic: representing something important, but in this case, not the real thing - เป็นสัญญาณ เป็นสัญลักษณ์

temporarily: for a limited period of time - ชั่วคราว

temporary: done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent - ชั่วคราว

yield: to produce something - ส่งผล  ให้ผล

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