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MRTA responds to claim of irregularities in scrapped Orange Line bidding
NationalFeb 19. 2021
By The Nation
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) on Friday responded to allegations of irregularities in its cancellation of bidding for the Bt128-billion Orange Line west construction.
Opposition MP Jirayu Huangsap claimed during this week’s no-confidence debate that bid conditions had been altered at the request of the Italian-Thai Development company despite opposition from fellow bidder, Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC). The ensuing legal dispute finally saw bidding scrapped on February 3 for the 13.4-kilometre line from Thailand Cultural Centre to Bang Khun Non.
In response, MRTA governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas said the selection committee’s 50:50 weighting for financial and technical proposals had been altered to 70:30 on August 21, 2020. Contractors were also given an extra 45 days to submit their bids.
He said the change in conditions was needed to protect heritage and buildings from Orange Line tunnelling in the old quarter of Bangkok.
“To maintain reasonable financial returns in the present economic conditions, the MRTA decided to use the 70 per cent rule to achieve financial returns and 30 per cent for technical criteria to ensure the safety of the people and archaeological sites that are national treasures,” said Pakapong.
However, BTSC’s legal action against the change had disrupted the process and led to the committee’s decision to scrap bidding, he added. Preparations have now begun for a new bidding process in March-May, he said.