Thailand’s Treasury Department cancels water pipeline contract signing ceremony

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The Treasury Department yesterday (Tuesday) abruptly canceled the scheduled contract signing ceremony between the department and the Wong Siam Construction Company, which won the tender to run the water pipeline system supplying electricity water to consumers in the eastern region of Thailand, especially to industries in the east. Economic Corridor (EEC).

Treasury Department director-general Prapas Kong-ied told media he was advised to postpone the signing until the department cleared up public doubts about the transparency of the appeals process. of offers.

Wong Siam Construction Company won the second tender to run the water supply network for 30 years, with a bid of 25.6 billion baht, ahead of its rival, Eastwater, the current operator, which proposed 24 billion baht. Wong Siam also proposed water fees, to be charged to users throughout the 30-year contract, not to exceed 10.98 baht/m3 compared to 13 baht/m3 for Eastwater.

The chief executive said he was not worried about public pressure and would not cancel the offer, but would proceed with the signing of the contract at a new date, which is yet to be determined.

Minor opposition parties have alleged that the second bidding process lacked transparency and that there may have been political interference.

The project combines three pipelines, namely Nong Pla Lai-Nong Khor, Nong Khor-Laem Chabang and Dok Krai. The water comes from three reservoirs belonging to the Royal Irrigation Department, namely Dok Krai with a capacity of 71.40 million m3, Nong Pla Lai with 163.75 million m3 and Nong Khor with 21.40 million m3 .

The first application was organized last July, but was canceled by the selection committee the following month without explanation. A second round of bidding took place, with some adjustments to the terms of reference (TOR), and Wong Siam won the bid.

After the cancellation of the first bid, Eastwater took the case to the Administrative Court, asking for the second bid to be suspended, but the court denied the petition on the grounds that the company can still participate in the second bid.

Prapas said yesterday that the terms of reference had been amended to make it clearer, after some bidders miscalculated the capacity of the pipeline, and to open it up to more interested parties. He also claimed that the new deal will generate more revenue for the state, as the new bidder offered lower water fees during the contract and higher revenue sharing for the state.

Meanwhile, a Wong Siam executive said the company would not take legal action over the abrupt cancellation of the signing of the contract, but would rather the Treasury Department release a written statement. He said the company is not new and was in partnership with Eastwater. He also denied any links to politicians.

Eastwater Group is 40.20% owned by the Provincial Waterworks Authority, a state enterprise.

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