Cabinet gives nod to airport high-speed rail contract

Cabinet gives nod to airport high-speed rail contract

Workers and local residents led by the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) on Tuesday lodge a petition at the government's complaint centre, asking the government to disclose details of a draft joint venture contract for the 225-billion-baht high-speed train development project.  (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Workers and local residents led by the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) on Tuesday lodge a petition at the government's complaint centre, asking the government to disclose details of a draft joint venture contract for the 225-billion-baht high-speed train development project. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The cabinet has given the green light to a draft contract for the 225-billion-baht high-speed rail project linking three major airports. The consortium led by Charoen Pokphan Group is expected to sign the contract next month.

Natthaporn Jatusripitak, spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, said the cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft joint venture contract proposed by the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office to link Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports by high-speed rail.

The contract between the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and the winning consortium led by the Charoen Pokphand Group is slated to be signed by June 15.

Under the contract, the SRT will pay 149 billion baht over a period of 10 years, or 14.9 billion baht a year, the spokesman said. 

The joint venture contract covers 50 years. After that the project would belong to the government, which is expected to receive a return on investment of about 300 billion baht, Thai media reported.

The CP Group-led consortium comprises China Railway Construction Corporation, Bangkok Expressway and Metro, Italian-Thai Development, Ch. Karnchang, Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp for Transport & Urban Development, Citic Group, Siemens, Hyundai and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Meanwhile, local residents to be affected by the high-speed train development project called for the government to disclose details of the joint venture contract and give locals a say in the project.

Suwit Kaewwan, chairman of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, said workers and a group of local residents, numbering more than 100, on Tuesday lodged a petition with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the government’s complaint centre, asking the government to explain the project in a transparent manner and allow people’s participation in the project.

Worries have grown among the locals that the high-speed train project linking the three main airports would hurt them, rather than bring about growth and development in surrounding areas as the government expected. The locals feared the projects would affect their livelihoods and the environment, said the labour advocate.


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