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Red leader spearheads rice-purchase plan

RED SUNDAY GROUP leader Sombat Boonngam-anong will raise funds to help buy rice from the stockpiles of the troubled pledging scheme. Sombat said yesterday that two bank accounts would be created, one by the Mirror Foundation and the other by the Duang Prateep Foundation, to help buy unsold rice from the government's inventory.

The Duang Prateep account will be used to |purchase rice for needy |children cared for by the foundation.

Rice purchased through the Mirror Foundation will be for personal consumption of the buyers. Sombat said people would be able to stock many bags of rice that would last half a year or so.

He said he would work out the details with the government yesterday and make another announcement within the next few days.

Sombat called the move by the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee to raise funds to help rice farmers a cynical attempt to exploit them in its effort to overthrow the caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra administration and establish an unelected "People's Council".

Many rice farmers in the pledging programme have been unpaid for months, and protests have erupted independently of the PDRC campaign.

"They're exploiting the farmers' sentiment," he said, referring to the PDRC. He also had a message to rice farmers: "Don't be used by the PDRC. They're not truly sincere in helping you."

Sombat acknowledged that the rice scheme was encountering problems but would not call it a failure, as the intention was good. He said whether the prime minister issued a public apology or not was up to her, but it was more important for the government to get the money for the rice farmers quickly.




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