It looks like the tactic of truck and bus drivers yesterday, to block off three lanes of one of Bangkok’s main highways, has worked. Today, the Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong has said the government will back down on the proposed NGV fuel price increase — at least for now.
In a compromise with truck and bus drivers, instead of a 50 satang increase every month on CNG price until the end of the year (which would have worked out at an almost 80 percent price increase by December, 2012), just one 50 satang increase will go into effect in January. Other price increases will be delayed until the government has time to reassess. Meanwhile, taxi drivers will be given a credit card to use so they can continue to buy CNG at the current price (wonder who will be paying for that little scheme?)
This all happened after truck and bus drivers moved their protest from the side road on the Vibhavadi-Rangist Road in Bangkok to eventually shutting off three out of four lanes in one direction. By 6pm last night, traffic on the entire road was at a complete standstill. Something the government obviously can’t allow to happen again today — thus, a CNG fuel price compromise.
Solved for now. Of course. But expect this mess to raise its ugly head again soon. Taxi, bus and truck drivers aren’t going to see any increase in wages any time soon, and PTT, the producers of CNG, can’t continue to lose money on it. Something eventually will have to give. It’s anyone’s guess as to what.