The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) board has finally approved the results of a bid for construction contracts for two double-track rail projects, one in the North and the other in the Northeast.
It revealed that the bidding for three construction contracts for the 72.9-billion-baht Den Chai-Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong route as well as for the other two contracts required for the construction of the 55.4-billion-baht Ban Phai-Maha Sarakham-Roi Et-Mukdahan-Nakhon Phanom route were conducted from June to July.
The SRT's approval, however, had been stalled by an investigation ordered by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha into alleged price collusion and the unfair treatment of some bidders.
These results were only recently approved after the committee probing irregularities found no evidence to back up the claims and reported this to the prime minister on Nov 23, said the source.
Gen Prayut therefore assigned the Ministry of Transport to continue with the two rail projects while also explaining to the public the findings from the previous investigation and starting to amend some laws to heighten legal mechanisms against collusion in future bidding wars.
If the bidding had to be held again, the median prices for the two projects would have been raised to keep up with inflation in costs.
That would have cost the 323km northern rail project an additional 4.2 billion baht and the 355km northeastern project an extra 2.9 billion.
SRT governor Nirut Maneephan said the approved bidding results include a 26.5-billion-baht contract awarded to the ITD-NWR Consortium to build the 104km Den Chai-Ngao section, a 26.9-billion-baht contract awarded to CKST-DC Consortium to build the 135km Ngao-Chiang Rai section, and a 19.3-billion-baht contract also awarded to CKST-DC for the 84km Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong section. The other two contracts were awarded to AS-CHO Thavee and Associates Consortium and UNIQ Consortium for the 180km Ban Phai-Nong Phok section and the 175km Nong Phok-Sapha Mittraphap section, respectively.