Nan running out of petrol By The Nation Published on October 23, 2008 Corn growers blockade province, demanding govt price intervention Stocks of petrol are running out in almost all service stations in Nan after more than 20,000 corn farmers blockaded all road networks going in and out of the province. Apart from bringing traffic in three northern provinces, including Phayao and Phrae to a halt, the blockade, which began on Monday, also threatened to unseat Deputy Prime Minister Olarn Chaiprawat, who handles economic measures. People Power Party members in the North said in a House session yesterday that they would remove Olarn, a nonMP Cabinet member in the PPP quota, if he could not make any progress in solving the problem. Cholnan Srikaew, a Nan MP, said he was seeking support from all 48 PPP MPs in the North to oust Olarn, also the chairman of a government board overseeing farmers' assistance programmes, but would wait to see the results of a meeting that Olarn called yesterday afternoon. "Olarn should consider his resignation [if he fails to immediately solve the problem], but if he doesn't, we will seek his ouster through the prime minister, and if the prime minister does not remove him, we will find out what to do with Olarn," he said. The protestors, frustrated with the low price of corn, vowed to continue the blockades after Nan governor Somsak Suwansujarit failed to push for their agenda in the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. They demanded a price intervenฌtion by the government that would guarantee a minimum corn price of Bt6 per kilogram. Currently, they are growing corn at a huge loss, at Bt3.70 per kilo. To comply with the demand, the government needs to seek an urgent Bt4.2billion budget for the price intervention. Vehicles formed long queues at service stations to fill up their fuel tanks since Monday when the road blockade began. Several service staฌtions closed yesterday morning after they ran out of petrol. The farmers first blockaded Phrae - Nan Road in Wieng Sa district in Nan. They later blocked two smaller roads linking the three provinces together, preventing all traffic from travelling between them. An unconfirmed report said civilian authorities in Nan were coordinating with military officials to discuss a measure to end the blockade before a famous annual boat race in Nan River took place tomorrow. Public buses that still provide service have to drop passengers off at one location, then the passengers walk through the protest site, which covers a one km distance, and get on other buses that transport them to their destination. Apart from price intervention, the farmers also demand that a 15member committee be set up, with their representatives present. They also want the Cabinet to issue land ownership for them as well as provide skill training. They also wanted an advance price intervention scheme to be effective next April that would guarantee minimum prices for three grades of corns. Chumphon Phromekamin, a protest leader, said he would impose the blockade indefinitely unless he could talk to the government or Commerce Ministry officials in a direct meeting. He refused to negotiate with governor Somsak, after his failure to push for their agenda in the Cabinet meetฌing as promised by him. Comment: Anothere beaut alarmist newspaper story?