The opposition Move Forward Party has officially asked the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) to screen the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investment contract for the Orange Line train project, before the document is submitted to the cabinet for approval.
Move Forward MP Surachet Pravinvongvuth said today (Friday) that, if the OAG allows the contract to go through too easily, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRT), the project’s owner, may expedite its process to the cabinet for final approval. That could mean that the state would have to spend as much as 68 billion baht to co-invest in the mega-infrastructure project.
He pointed to several suspected irregularities in the project, such as the abrupt change of the terms of reference, after the bidding was called, and the cancellation of the first round of bidding, which was eventually ruled illegal by the Central Administrative Court.
BTS, one of the bidders for the project, was barred from the contest for failing to pass the qualification screening, said Surachet, as he also questioned the conduct of the project selection committee regarding protection of the public interest.
The opposition MP also said that the Move Forward Party plans to submit a petition to the Central Administrative Court, to have the project put on hold until all the suspicious issues are cleared.
The eastern route of the Orange Line runs from the National Cultural Centre to Min Buri, covering a distance of 22.57 km with 17 stations, 10 of which are underground. It is expected to be operational in the next three years.
The Orange Line will link to three other lines. At the National Cultural Centre station it links to the Blue Line, at Lam Salee with the Yellow Line and at Min Buri station to the Pink Line.