The Engineering Institute of Thailand blasted the government yesterday for setting out unclear terms for its massive water management and flood prevention projects worth 350 billion baht.
Suwat: Projects raise questions
The institute called for an improvement in the terms of reference (ToR) or for them to be dropped altogether.
EIT director Suwat Chaopreecha said the ToR for the projects were vague and raised many questions in the eyes of engineers and the public.
He said the government wrote the ToR only in Thai. Foreign investors interested in projects must translate the terms. This is unacceptable because translations may not be correct.
The ToR also require a company that bids to have completed a project worth at least 30 billion baht. If a bidder is a consortium, each partner must have handled tasks worth at least 2 billion baht from 2002 to 2012.
Mr Suwat questioned if the conditions were intended to favour a handful of large-scale companies in Thailand.
Teekawut Buddhapirom, an engineering lecturer at Kasetsart University, pointed out that any large-scale project had to undergo environmental impact assessment (EIA) and the ToR did not say if there would be such assessments.
Consequently, many companies dare not submit their proposals because they fear opponents will later file complaints with the Administrative Court and their projects might be scrapped, he said. Mr Teekawut urged the government to conduct an EIA on its water management and flood prevention projects first.
Prof Thongchai Phansawat, an independent engineer and former environmental engineering lecturer with Chulalongkorn University, said the requirement that a prospective bidder must have a past record of completing a project worth at least 30 billion baht was unnecessary.
Ideas, knowledge and sufficient information should be enough for any company to implement the government's water management scheme, he said.
EIT vice-president Krai Tangsanga, meanwhile, said priority should be given to Thai companies because if foreign firms win the contracts, local companies would still have to be hired to maintain the water management system.
The ToR of the schemes lacked precise criteria in selecting candidates to implement the projects, said Wicha Jiwalai, a member of the Council of Engineers.
He called on the government to delay the project and set up a team of experts.
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Writer: Patsara Jikkham