WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024

BTSC to get 23bn from BMA for Green Line, while court considers more

BTSC to get 23bn from BMA for Green Line, while court considers more

An ordinance directing the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to pay a debt of 23 billion baht to Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) for previous work on Green Line skytrain extensions was published in the Royal Gazette on Tuesday.

The ordinance took effect on Wednesday, allocating a budget drawing on reserve funds and allowing the BMA, the Bangkok city hall, to repay a debt totalling 23,488,692,200 baht to the operator of the BTS Skytrain.

The debt arose from BMA hiring BTSC to install machinery and electrical systems (E&M) for the second extension of the Green Line from Bearing to Samut Prakan stations and from Mo Chit to Saphan Mai and Khu Khot stations.

The ordinance specified that the 23.488 billion was an extra allocation to the fiscal 2024 BMA budget and empowered BMA governor Chadchart Sittipunt to take charge of the debt repayment.

The sum will be transferred to BMA’s Traffic and Transport Department to pay off the debt.

On January 17, Bangkok Councillors voted by 44 votes to approve the reserve being used to pay the debt to BTSC following a years-long delay and disputes with BTSC.

In mid-2022, BTSC filed a lawsuit with the Central Administrative Court, demanding that BMA honour the debt of 41.71 billion baht owed to the BTSC for the cost of the E&M installations, BTSC’s operation costs for the extended Green Line routes, and associated maintenance (O&M).

Last year, BTSC staff held several protests to demand that BMA pay the debt. BTSC president Khiri Kanjanapas met with Chadchart and the two agreed that the BMA would make a first payment for the cost of E&M installation and await the Cabinet’s budget to pay the O&M costs.

BTSC to get 23bn from BMA for Green Line, while court considers more

All in all, the BMA has an accumulated a debt of 105 billion baht for the construction and operation of the two Green Line extensions.

The debt is composed of three parts:

• 50 billion baht owed to the Finance Ministry for construction plus interest.

• 23 billion baht owed to BTSC for electronic and mechanical systems installation.

• 27.4 billion baht owed to BTSC for operation and maintenance.

The BTSC is awaiting a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court, which they hope will order BMA to honour the entire debt.