The Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) on Thursday refuted a rumour that it has issued an ultimatum to CP Group stating that it must start construction of the government’s high-speed rail project linking three airports, or the project would be cancelled.
EECO secretary-general Chula Sukmanop insisted the project was still active, adding that the EECO committee overseeing the contract is working on an agreement between the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and CP Group to allow construction to start.
The high-speed rail project will link Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports with U-tapao International Airport via a 220-kilometre line. The project is budgeted at 224.54 billion baht and scheduled for completion in 2028.
However, it hit a snag when Asia Era One Co Ltd, the CP Group subsidiary granted the concession to invest in and operate the project, was unable to obtain new investment privileges from the Board of Investment (BOI). This prevented it from starting construction work on project sites on SRT land.
The BOI is responsible for granting investment promotion privileges such as tax breaks and import duty exemptions.
On Tuesday, the EECO advised CP Group to appeal to the BOI for an extension of project investment privileges, which expired on January 22.
In the meantime, Chula said his office will ask the SRT’s board to consider issuing an NTP (notice to proceed) to Asia Era One, allowing it to commence construction even without the BOI privileges.