Chadchart pressed on school lunch prices

Chadchart pressed on school lunch prices

Pheu Thai MP wants action after arrest of school director for graft

Students at city-run Ban Bangkapi secondary school in Bangkok queue for lunch. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Students at city-run Ban Bangkapi secondary school in Bangkok queue for lunch. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Jirayu Huangsap, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Klong Sam Wa district, has called out the Bangkok governor and demanded serious action be taken to combat extortionate student lunch prices at city schools.

Mr Jirayu’s concern arose after charges were filed on Wednesday against the director of the Bang Chan School in his district for extorting money from a supplier of student lunches. The extra costs borne by the contractor were reflected in high meal prices.

The director was arrested by the police Anti-Corruption Division but was released on bail the following day.

Mr Jirayu said MPs had filed a complaint with governor Chadchart Sittipunt in November but had still not received a response. He suggested Mr Chadchart promptly investigate, adding that the problem pre-dated his appointment as governor.

Mr Jirayu said that if Bangkok MPs and the public cannot get the problem solved by City Hall, he would set up an investigative committee that includes representatives from the judiciary, independent bodies and prosecutors.

Mr Chadchart said on Thursday that City Hall had suspended the school director and legal action is being taken against him.

He ordered City Hall’s permanent secretary to investigate further, promising fair treatment for all sides.

Mr Chadchart said he had directed Gen Niphon Thonglek, the governor’s consultant, to monitor the process by which student lunches are supplied, focusing on any potential gaps in the chain that could lead to overcharging. He must also ensure food-quality standards are met.

He said City Hall had come up with measures to reduce corruption, including providing a complaint platform like Traffy Fondue.

“We had to accept there was an [overcharging] problem before we came up with the tool that we used to solve the problem,” said Mr Chadchart.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Trinuch Thienthong said the ministry had ordered the school to be fully transparent in future, not just regarding its provision of lunches.

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