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Rice-Pledging Scheme

Granary fire unlikely to be arson: Lop Buri Governor

The blaze at a granary in Lop Buri's Chai Badan district on Tuesday was unlikely to have been arson, Lop Buri Governor Thanakom Jongjiri said on Wednesday.

The granary, which is surrounded by a fence, stores only broken rice, he said. The governor spoke after joining a police forensic team investigating the granary fire in the district's Tambon Lamnarai.

It is one of the hundreds of governmentowned granaries used for keeping rice under the controversial ricepledging scheme.

Pol Col Pongnaresuan Tantiwattana, an investigator, said the fire's flash point was in the middle of the rice pile. A total of 120 sacks of rice were damaged, he said, adding that 40 sacks were destroyed by fire and water and the other 80 sacks simply fell apart.

He said police will look into comments made by the granary's owner who speculated that the fire may have been caused by flames spreading from an adjacent sugarcane field.

Opponents of the scheme have claimed that the fire was started deliberately to cover evidence of irregularities.

The governor added that 50 police would be deployed to provide security at the granary.


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