Rice scheme is divisive

Re: Wichit Chantanusornsiri's article "Solving poverty goes beyond writing cheques" (BP, Oct 4). I agree 100% with Khun Wichit's article. Furthermore, I fear that the rice subsidy scheme and other similar schemes are rapidly leading to a divide in Thailand which may result in even worse disruption than we saw in 2010. These schemes look likely to become unstoppable until the next crisis occurs.

How can one group which pays the country's taxes accept seeing large amounts of their money being transferred to another group? The government says the subsidies are to help the poor farmers but payments are made without regard to whether a farmer is poor or rich. If it was for only poor people it might be acceptable. But not all farmers are poor. Many farms are owned by rich Thais.

How can middle- and lower-income taxpayers accept their money being given to richer farmers and millers?


Feeling disconnected

Thankfully, the ongoing 3G saga appears to be progressing in a positive way, albeit as the rest of the region is preparing for 4G capability. Sometimes I wonder what this means for the majority of the nation. Take the case of my house for example _ we live approximately 10km from Pattaya. The area is within a kilometre from a major motorway and has numerous developments. Yet to this day TOT, CAT Telecom and local private internet providers are unable to provide even basic ADSL connections to any of the houses. We first requested this six years ago but were told it was not yet possible in the area.

As most of the nation's residents live in the countryside in far more remote locations than I, it leaves me wondering exactly how many have access to a fixed internet connection?


Finding cultural treasures

Re: "Down the culture trail" from Life, Oct 4, by Pichaya Svasti.

I am very happy Khun Pichaya talked about a temple with ancient mural paintings. Usually nobody talks about that and it's very difficult to find information even at the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Fine Arts Department!

I have visited hundreds of temples with murals all over the country. They were beautiful during the visits and after coming back we can still appreciate them in photos. Thai people and tourists need to know these cultural treasures.

Thanks again.


Bus route not feasible

Re: "New bus service links Laos". I doubt the feasibility of this bus service from Bangkok to Vientiane by Transport Co.

Cheap air fares cost about the same or a little less than the bus service.

The flight is less than two hours, while 10 hours of riding on a bus is far less comfortable.

To run this route in the scheduled 10 hours, maximum, the buses would have to exceed 120kph. Bus accidents on Thai highways are frequent.


Slash car import duties

Bentley may seem to be too small a manufacturer to be calling on the Thai government to lower import duties for cars. But there are vast benefits to such a call.

Lowered import duties result in more reasonable prices, thus more sales and money for Customs to collect. There's a wider choice for consumers (also for mass-market cars) and easier entry of new eco-friendly technologies for Thais to get familiar with.

Local car assembly wouldn't be affected greatly as Toyota or Mitsubishi have plants producing more than 200,000 cars annually for export as well. Main plants are seemingly here to stay, even if import tax is reduced.

The reason the government refuses to lower tax is probably because politicians are involved in the grey market _ under-declaring prices and avoiding full tax.


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