Chadchart wants Green Line deals publicised amid debt talk

Chadchart wants Green Line deals publicised amid debt talk

Commuters board a train at Khu Khot station on the Green Line in Pathum Thani province. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Commuters board a train at Khu Khot station on the Green Line in Pathum Thani province. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt wants to use the Information Act to publicise contracts pertaining to the construction of Bangkok's Green Line electric train network.

The network is currently at the centre of a dispute between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC), with the former owing the latter more than 30 billion baht for operating the Green Line.

BMA's debts consist of three different components -- the first being debts owed to the government, the second debts owed for purchasing the network's supporting electrical systems, and finally, debts owed to the BTSC as the line's concession holder.

"I want to disclose the contracts to the public, but I have to study the legal implication [of the disclosure] as some parts are covered by a non-disclosure agreement," he said.

"As the Thailand Consumer Council has asked the BMA for the contracts' details, I will see which parts of it can be disclosed, as outlined by the Information Act."

That discussion, he said, has to be held with Krungthep Thanakom (KT), the BMA's investment arm, as it was KT which signed the initial deal with BTSC.

Before forking out any money to settle the debts, the BMA must check every detail of the debt and review the terms of the concession for 2029-2042, as it can affect fares along the Green Line, he said, hinting at the possibility of lowering maximum fares to 20-30 baht if the BMA can restructure its debts to its creditors.

The Bangkok governor also said there is still time to resolve the matter as the new contract won't come into effect until 2029.

"Plus, the more pressing issue is interest on the debt which we will need to pay to the creditors."

Mr Chadchart also promised to look deeper into the contract signed by KT when the Green Line was launched, which led to KT hiring a private company to operate the line.

"The public is the one bearing the burden from the conditions written in the contract. So, we need to see how much we can renegotiate," he said.

Once the matter is clarified, the contracts will be forwarded to the cabinet for discussion, he said.

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