MRTA says ToR re­vi­sion was ‘law­ful’


The Mass Rapid Tran­sit Author­ity of Thai­land (MRTA) yes­ter­day de­fended its de­ci­sion to re­vise the terms of ref­er­ence (ToR) of the 140-bil­lion-baht Orange Line western ex­ten­sion af­ter the launch of the bid­ding process, say­ing it was to en­sure op­ti­mal ben­e­fits for the state and the public.

The re­vi­sion, which was made af­ter the pur­chase of bid en­velopes, is be­ing chal­lenged by one of the po­ten­tial bid­ders, Bangkok Mass Tran­sit Sys­tem Plc (BTSC) which last week filed a law­suit with the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Court against the MRTA con­cern­ing the mat­ter.

MRTA gov­er­nor Pakapong Sirikan­tara­mas said the change in cri­te­ria for bid as­sess­ment was made due to the com­plex­ity of the project as the line will pass through sev­eral res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ties, the Rat­tanakosin Is­land area and re­quire a tun­nel to be built un­der the Chao Phraya River.

“It is in line with the law and will guar­an­tee op­ti­mal ben­e­fits for the public. We can guar­an­tee the spec­i­fi­ca­tions are not rigged to favour any­one. The bid­ders have re­ceived fur­ther doc­u­ments and have been given suf­fi­cient time [to al­ter their bids],” he said.

He said the MRTA sought only a safe and high-qual­ity rail line but would com­ply with the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Court if it is­sued an in­junc­tion.

The MRTA kicked off the bid­ding in July for a builder and op­er­a­tor of the western ex­ten­sion link­ing the Thai­land Cul­tural Cen­tre with Bang Khun Non. Ten firms pur­chased bid en­velopes in­clud­ing BTSC, op­er­a­tor of the BTS Sky­train, Bangkok Ex­press­way and Metro Plc, which op­er­ates the MRT, Sino-Thai Engi­neer­ing & Con­struc­tion, and Ital­ian-Thai Devel­op­ment Plc (ITD).

In Au­gust, ITD filed a com­plaint with the State En­ter­prise Pol­icy Com­mis­sion ar­gu­ing the bid value should not be the sole de­cid­ing fac­tor, and tech­ni­cal pro­pos­als and bid­der cred­i­bil­ity should also be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

The 13.4km sec­tion is part of the 22.57km Orange Line project and the bid win­ner will be granted a 30-year con­ces­sion to op­er­ate the line. The cho­sen con­trac­tor is ex­pected to be an­nounced in Jan­uary if all goes to plan.

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