Angry truckers vow not to roll over
Drivers want action on high diesel price
The Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT) has vowed to step up a campaign seeking the removal of Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow if he fails to solve the high diesel price crisis within seven days.
Lorry drivers yesterday gathered outside the Energy Ministry on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road to stage a "Truck Power Final Season" protest.
The first "Truck Power" protest was held in November.
LTFT chairman Apichart Prairungruang said the group has repeatedly called on the minister to address the problem, but their calls have fallen on deaf ears.
The minister will be given seven days to solve the problem otherwise they will step up their campaign against him, Mr Apichart said.
"People will take to the streets in protest. We will also ask other groups, such as farmers affected by low crop prices to join the protest. People nationwide are struggling with the rising cost of living,'' he said.
Mr Apichart said protesters will camp out in front of the ministry to ramp up pressure on the minister, and business operators will bring their lorries to join the protest.
He also said the LTFT will consider raising transport fees by 15-20% to reflect the increase in diesel prices to 30 baht per litre.
The government agreed to cap the diesel price at 30 baht from November last year to March this year using the Oil Fund to implement a price subsidy. However, the group demanded that diesel be lowered to 25 baht per litre.
Withoon Naewpanich, president of a network of taxi cooperatives in Bangkok, also led 50 network members on Tuesday in handing Mr Supattanapong a petition, calling on him to consider reducing the price of natural gas for vehicles which stands at 15.59 baht per kilogramme to no more than 10 baht.
Mr Withoon said his group had no plans to pressure the energy minister into resigning, but they want the minister to help ease their plight as a result of rising fuel costs.
Somboon Norkaew, deputy permanent secretary at the Energy Ministry, on Tuesday accepted the petitions and pledged that the Energy Ministry has a raft of measures ready, such as reducing electricity fees and the price of liquefied petroleum gas, as well as capping diesel at 30 baht a litre.