21 May 2024

The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC) has petitioned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to order the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) to halt the Orange Line’s western extension project, until there is a ruling from the Administrative Court.

In the petition letter, BTSC chairman and CEO Khiri Kanchanapas alleges that the MRTA, the state agency overseeing the 120-billion baht extension project, had unlawfully changed the bidding criteria, by focusing more on revenue sharing than on the technical specifications, prompting the BTSC to seek redress from the Administrative Court.

The MRTA cancelled the bidding and the BTSC filed a petition, with the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, against MRTA governor Pakapong Sirikantharamas for unlawfully cancelling the bidding.

The Administrative Court later issued an injunction suspending any new bidding, until there is a final ruling from the court.

Mr. Khiri said, in the petition letter, that the arbitrary decision, by the MRTA, to change the bidding terms after potential investors had already received them, will affect foreign investor confidence in the government and tarnish its reputation.

The prime minister said earlier, however, that he has no authority to intervene in this conflict and urged all parties concerned to come together to resolve the problem.

The extension project, from Bang Khun Non to Min Buri, will have 11 underground stations and track covering a distance of 13.4 kilometres, linking Bangkok’s western and eastern suburbs.