Orange Line bid on ice due to legal woes

Orange Line bid on ice due to legal woes

MRTA has 30 days to appeal verdict

Saksayam: Waiting for decision report
Saksayam: Waiting for decision report

The Ministry of Transport has ordered the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) to put the brakes on the second round of bidding for the subway system's Orange Line western extension that is scheduled to take place on July 27.

The order came after the Administrative Court last Thursday ruled the MRTA's cancellation of the first round of bidding was unlawful.

The lawsuit was filed by the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) against the MRTA and the committee selected under Section 36 of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Tuesday the ministry is waiting for the MRTA's court decision report after the court ruled to cancel the bidding for the PPP on the Orange Line's western extension from Bang Khun Non to Min Buri.

Mr Saksayam said the ministry will study the decision to determine what the MRTA should do next, but he said it has 30 days to launch an appeal.

A source said the ministry has floated the idea of resolving the matter by instructing the MRTA to defer receiving bid envelopes for the second round on July 27, and not open them until Aug 1.

That delay would give the MRTA time to ask the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) about related legal issues to ensure the upcoming bid is fair.

To that end, the ministry is determined to find a swift solution by resetting the bidding process so all parties are satisfied, the ministry source said. As such, the second round should also be cancelled the source added.

The ministry's policy was also raised at an MRTA board meeting chaired by Department of Highways Director-General Sarawut Songsivilai on Monday. The results will be reported back before another meeting is held to select the committee under Section 36 of the PPP Act.

The 35.9-km Orange Line comprises two stretches: one runs from the Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri on the eastern line (22.5km) while the western section (13.4km) runs in the other direction from the same centre to Bang Khun Non.

Some 27km of the route is underground while 8.9km is elevated. There are 28 planned stations on the line.

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