MFP targets Orange Line bids

MFP targets Orange Line bids

The Move Forward Party (MFP) on Monday petitioned the Central Administrative Court to seek the cancellation of the bidding on the western section of the Orange Line, citing unfair competition that could cost the government 68 billion baht in losses.

Named in the lawsuit lodged by MFP MP Surachet Pravinvongvuth were the transport minister, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), the bid selection committee under Section 36 of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act, and the Transport Ministry.

The court was also asked to issue an injunction to ensure that no contract is signed until the court reaches a decision to prevent massive financial damage.

The move came after Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM) won the bid to jointly invest with the government in the Orange Line's western expansion project linking the Thailand Cultural Centre with Bang Khun Non.

According to the MRTA, BEM offered the highest promised investment return and requested the least subsidies. The firm's net present value (NPV) offer of 78.28 billion baht was 24.35 billion less than the amount from its competitor, ITD Group.

Mr Surachet, however, claimed the bidding was riddled with irregularities, saying under the deal, the government would have to pay 68 billion baht in subsidies for the project.

If the first round of bidding was not cancelled, the government would have only needed to pay 9.67 billion baht to subsidise the project, he said, referring to the controversial cancellation of the first round of bidding on Feb 3, 2021, by the MRTA.

The MRTA launched the first bidding round in July 2020 but scrapped it when it decided to change the bidding conditions. The move triggered questions of transparency and led to multiple lawsuits filed by Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) which took part in the first round. The MRTA opened the second from May 27-June 10 this year where BEM emerged as the winner.

"The transport minister must take responsibility and clarify the issue, especially the subsidy of 68 billion baht. Why was BTSC out? We can't let this pass," he said.

Do you like the content of this article?