Friday, May 25, 2012

Province pulls out stops for royal visit

Provincial officials say they are fully prepared for His Majesty the King's visit to Thung Makham Yong paddy field in the province Friday and are looking forward to his arrival.
Ayutthaya governor Witthaya Piewpong said Thursday the province is "100 percent" ready for the royal visit, which starts in the early evening.
His Majesty the King, accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, will leave Siriraj Hospital at 4pm and arrive at Thung Makham Yong in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district at 5.20pm.
It will be His Majesty's first trip outside Bangkok and its neighbouring provinces since he was admitted to the hospital on Sept 19, 2009.
The King harvested rice from the royal experimental rice field in Thung Makham Yong on May 14, 1996. The field is in the same area as the kaem ling (monkey cheek) water retention royal project which was initiated by the King 16 years ago.
The paddy field will be divided into 18 zones to hold the estimated 20,000 people who are expected to turn up for the event, the Ayutthaya governor said.
Security checkpoints will be set up, with security staff using metal detectors to scan people who enter the paddy field, Mr Witthaya said.
Authorities from the provincial administrative organisation will provide free meals and drinking water.
People who cannot make it into the field can greet His Majesty the King along the 25km Pathum Thani-Ayutthaya road No 347 which the royal motorcade will pass on its way to the paddy field.
Free drinking water and medical services will be also provided along the route.
Meanwhile, a report from the website said an aide to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has clarified reports that the Shinawatra family was donating rice paddy land in Ayutthaya to the King.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in fact making the donation herself, not on the family's behalf, he said.
Ms Yingluck earlier said she will donate seven rai of land worth 20 million baht at Thung Makham Yong in Ayutthaya on behalf of the Shinawatra family to His Majesty the King when he visits the area Friday.
A source said the land is part of the same experimental rice field from which the King harvested rice in May 1996.
Wim Rungwattanajinda, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, told the media on Wednesday the land belonged to a farmer who sold it.
Mr Wim said the prime minister bought the land this year because she considered the land an historical area and wanted to donate it to the King.
A report said Ampon Kitti-ampon, the cabinet's secretary-general, had asked the Land Department to buy the land from its owner to donate to the King during the royal visit Friday.
However, a check of Ms Yingluck's assets and liabilities, as declared to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, turned up no sign of land in Ayutthaya as listed among her assets.

The clip below, uploaded to YouTube by cosovo999, shows His Majesty the King harvesting some rice in the field in Ayutthaya province on May 14, 1996.