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Plodprasob defends water-management scheme

In response to criticism about the withdrawal of several Japanese contractors from the government's large-scale flood and water-management scheme, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi told the press yesterday that the companies were bidding at prices higher than median rates.



Plodprasob reacted specifically to an attempt by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's former adviser, Utain Shartpinyo, to halt the bidding process scheduled for May 3 by lodging a petition with the Central Administrative Court. He said Utain was merely finding fault with the government and did not understand the conditions listed in the contract's terms of reference.

He said Japanese contractors had submitted proposals for 10 projects, but so far only six of them had been approved because their asking price was higher than the median rate.

Plodprasob also apologised to the firms that had withdrawn from the bidding before releasing the figures of the bids: the proposal for dams was Bt190 billion, while the median rate as Bt50 billion.

The construction of catchment areas was bid at Bt84 billion against Bt60 billion, floodways at Bt390 billion against Bt120 billion, and a database at Bt5.7 billion against Bt3 billion. He said a total of Bt700 billion was requested, while the entire budget for this scheme stood at Bt350 billion.

Thongthong Chandrangsu, permanent secretary of PM's Office Ministry, said the government and the Office of Attorney General were ready to provide an explanation to the Central Administrative Court if it ruled in favour of Utain and decided to halt the bidding process.

As for the petition, Thongthong said he did not believe that Utain was qualified to make the complaint and that the conditions in the TOR did not cast suspicions because they had been reviewed before being approved.


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