Orange Line rail project prevails in court over BTSC dispute

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Bangkok’s Orange Line rail project has seen a court decision emerge in its favour. The Central Administrative Court announced its backing for the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA). The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC).

In the legal dispute, BTSC accused the MRTA of unjustly altering the terms of reference (ToR) in a bid proposal put forth on May 24 of the previous year. The BTSC posited that the MRTA committee established with the responsibility of choosing a private co-investing partner for the Orange Line’s extension had modified the ToR to sway the results in favour of a particular bidder.

The court’s ruling, however, stated that the MRTA had abided strictly by public-private partnership investment law. Any modifications to the ToR were deemed rightful by the court, according to a source.

As per the court’s decision, the committee facilitated a 60 day period for a public hearing to address the proposed adjustments. This step was taken in compliance with the 2019 Public-Private Partnership Investment Act.

It was revealed by the source that BTSC had requested the MRTA for an extension on the bid submission deadline. The cause behind the request was BTSC’s need to procure a foreign partner in compliance with the newly revised ToR. This act of compliance is proof of BTSC’s understanding and acceptance of the new ToR and indicates their intention to participate in the fresh round of bidding.

Following the ToR adjustments, it became mandatory for bidders to carry previous experiences in successfully executing a state construction project. This requirement was justified by the necessity for technical expertise and sufficient experience to accomplish the construction of the Orange Line’s new segment. The ruling pointed out that this undertaking included tunnelling below critical areas, reported Bangkok Post.

The ruling echoed the existing regulations by the Comptroller General’s Department, aimed at fostering trust in construction projects managed by government bodies.

The court also addressed BTSC’s contention that the 8.22% shares held by MRTA in Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM), the ultimate contract winner, could have influenced the bidding to be unfair. Contrarily, the court presented a 2000 cabinet resolution stating the MRTA’s obligation to hold certain shares in BEM.

Thailand NewsTransport News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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