TRUCK OPERATORS who kicked off their Truck Power Final Season protest to get diesel price capped at 25-27 baht a litre in front of the Energy Ministry this morning (Feb. 8) are staying put overnight to symbolise their intention to chase out Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, TV Channel 7 and Thai Rath newspaper said.
Mr. Apichart Prairungruang, president of truck operators federation, said the energy minister had failed to solve the problem of diesel price with their break-even point being 25 baht a litre while the price at the pump is 30 baht a litre.
The federation is now considering hiking freight rates by 15-20 percent but this in turn would increase the price of goods with Apichart slamming the government for not being concerned about the welfare of the people.
Apichart mentioned that in the past diesel price had even risen to 40 baht a litre but previous governments immediately reduced the excise tax which is currently 5.99 baht a litre but this government would not do so.
The truck operators refused to budge from the front of the ministry this evening and were sitting around and listening to speeches with this to continue all night and there being no schedule on ending the gathering.
At the same time the traffic on Vibhavadi Rangsit highway, both inbound and outbound, was normal this evening because the truck convoys that had come to the metropolis this morning had returned to their home provinces with there now only remaining the demonstration outside the ministry.
Protesting truck drivers coming into Bangkok in a convoy and posters with pertinent messages pasted on vehicles participating in the demonstration today. Photos: Thai Rath