CP to ink rail deal on Thursday

CP to ink rail deal on Thursday

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has confirmed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will preside over the signing of a deal to build the rail system connecting the country's three main airports with the Charoen Pokphand Group-led (CP) consortium on Thursday.

He said the signing of the 224-billion-baht rail project will take place at 1.30pm at Government House.

After the signing, the transport permanent secretary will draft a plan to expedite the handover of land for the project.

Details of the deal and documents appended to the contract will be given to the media for distribution later, Mr Saksayam said.

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office, said the signing was brought forward from Friday, although the consortium originally expressed a wish to ink the deal tomorrow to coincide with the auspicious Chulalongkorn Memorial Day.

However, Gen Prayut will be away in Japan to attend emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony tomorrow. He will be back to preside over the signing on Thursday, according to Mr Kanit.

Sealing the deal marks an important milestone for the EEC as the high-speed railway is one of five ambitious infrastructure megaprojects that will serve the economic corridor.

Mr Kanit said the line linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports will take five years to construct.

Meanwhile, the EEC Office said the signing of the 290-billion-baht contract for the Eastern Airport City Project is expected to go ahead next month if everything goes according to plan, Mr Kanit said.

His statement came after the Supreme Administrative Court last week issued an injunction which effectively allows the CP-led consortium's bid for the project development to be considered.

The injunction issued on Friday reversed the Central Administrative Court's decision in late May to throw out the consortium's request for the injunction.

The consortium, comprising Thana Holding Co, a company under CP Group, Italian-Thai Development Plc, Ch Karnchang Plc, B Grimm Joint Ventures Holding Co, and Orient Success International Co, said the committee set up by the Royal Thai Navy which operates U-Tapao International Airport and is overseeing the project had unlawfully disqualified it from joining bidding for the project.

The committee said the consortium submitted its technical, financial and business plan documents after 3pm on March 21, which was the deadline to receive documents.

The injunction will remain in place until Nov 7 when the court is to rule whether the CP-led consortium remains eligible to be considered as a bidder for the development despite its late submission of the documents.

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