Apr 1, 2013

Thailand - PM says train remarks 'distorted'

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday accused her critics of distorting her remarks about high-speed trains and their potential benefits for farmers.

During a parliamentary debate on the 2-trillion-baht borrowing bill on Thursday, Ms Yingluck said high-speed trains would help develop provincial economies and get produce to markets faster while they were still fresh.

Her comments were however interpreted as "high-speed trains for transporting vegetables".

On her Facebook page, Ms Yingluck said the transportation of goods by high-speed trains would spur economic growth.

The network was vital to the farming sector, whose returns depend on rapid transport to ensure high quality produce and freshness.

The Euro Carex high-speed freight system was developed specifically to transport goods by high-speed train in Europe.

Ms Yingluck also said high-speed trains would connect local production bases to Asean countries.

The network would help reduce commuting times for passengers, allowing them more time with their families.

"This is not a fantasy. It is happening in several countries. Farmers can export their high-quality farm produce," she said.

"I think my comments were distorted for political purposes, instead of thinking about the benefits for the people.

"This is non-constructive and it's an insult to farmers who deserve better.

"A high-speed train [network] is a tool to provide equal opportunities."

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