More than 500 people joined a protest organized by the Foundation for Consumers and the People’s Network against the proposal to raise household liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices in Thailand. The rally was held in front of the main office of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT)
According to the government, the increase will take effect on September 1
LPG for the household sector currently costs 18.13 baht per kilogramme. Starting next month, the price will rise by 50 satang per kilogramme per month until it reaches 24.82 baht next August. The total increase will be 37%.
But Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal reminded the protesters that the increase would ease the tax burden of motorists who have been subsidizing the low LPG prices. He also said that low-income families will continue to receive government subsidies:
…the state Oil Fund has been using money from motorists to subsidise the price of cooking gas for years.
About 7.7 million low-income people and street food vendors will be allowed to buy LPG at the old price
Twitter user @chaiyaphat also supports the price hike:
Why do people care so much about lpg price? It's been artificially cheap for years. I believe that commodity prices should not be intervened
— Chaiyaphat (@chaiyaphat) August 23, 2013
Photos of the protest are available at Demotix website. They were contributed by Piti A Sahakorn
This photo by @BkkLifestyle also shows the size of the rally
Meanwhile, taxi drivers and operators are also reported to be preparing to hold their own rally to remind the government that they also need assistance when the LPG price is raised next month.