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BTS likely denied concession extension, BEM probably given 30 more years


A parliamentary committee on Wednesday recommended against extending the BTS Skytrain concession but agreed to a conditional extension of the concession held by Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Co Ltd (BEM).


Committee chairman Weerakorn Khamprakob said the 21-member panel voted 12-5 to let the Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT) extend its concessions with BEM on three expressway segments for another 30 years.


The Phalang Pracharat MP said most members felt that BEM’s 15-year operation had been a success, though some argued that the proposed 30-year extension should be halved in light of an arbitration tribunal’s ruling that EXAT must pay a colossal fine to BEM over a previous concession dispute.


The panel voted to establish a subcommittee to identify the EXAT officials who signed the problematic concession deal with BEM. 


Weerakorn also proposed a legal amendment requiring that all future concession disputes be considered only by the Administrative Court, removing the option of an arbitrative process as has also been used in the State Railway of Thailand’s clash with Hopewell.


Weerakorn said extending any BTS concession would leave all BTS infrastructure and assets in the company’s hands rather than becoming the property of the state, as represented by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) in this case.


The BMA would thus have no authority to lower fares in the long run as intended. 


Rather than extending the BTS concession, the panel recommended that the BMA issue bonds to ease its financial burden in dealing with existing BTS contract conditions.

Published : September 04, 2019

By : THE NATION