Opposition MP slams MRTA in Orange Line bidding row

Opposition MP slams MRTA in Orange Line bidding row

The opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) on Thursday accused the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) of organising unfair competition in past bidding to jointly invest with the government in the Orange Line's western expansion project.

MFP list MP Surachet Pravinvongvuth in his capacity as chairman of the House sub-committee studying large-scale infrastructure projects, said he would invite both Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM) and Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) in for questioning on Oct 3.

In the past bidding, BEM won over the ITD Group, a joint venture between Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) and South Korea's Incheon Transit Corporation, after BTSC unsuccessfully sought a court injunction to suspend the bidding, in which it wasn't taking part.

In its petition rejected by the Central Administrative Court last month, BTSC said the MRTA's decision on Feb 3 to scrap the first round of bidding, which the BTSC took part in, was against the law. The court said there was no sound rationale to put on hold the bidding, which at the time was still ongoing.

However, Mr Surachet said if the first round had not been cancelled, BTSC would have won, and the government would have been required to subsidise the project by 9.67 billion baht.

Now with BEM named the winner in the second round of bidding, the government will have to subsidise the project by up to 78.28 billion baht, a 68.61-billion-baht difference, he said.

His sub-committee now aims to find out where the 68.61-billion-baht difference has gone. He said the second round of bidding contained irregularities including the fact that the winning bid was higher than the reserve price and the bidding was done in haste.

He said he also believed BTSC had been barred from competing in the second round by the new requirements imposed regarding the qualifications of the contractor which each bid contender picked as a partner, which had disqualified BTSC from the bidding.


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