The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) said the Cabinet would have to endorse an extension of the land-expropriation decree so that the project could proceed.
The Purple Line is an elevated route of 23 kilometres with 16 stations, running from Bang Yai, located northwest
of Bangkok in Nonthaburi province, to Bang Sue, near the centre of Bangkok.
An MRTA source said the land-expropriation issue now fell under the responsibility of newly appointed governor Chukiat Photayanuvat.
The source said the Royal Decree was originally valid for four years but that extended delays to the project meant it had expired a few months ago.
Consequently, the source said, the MRTA would have to seek approval from the Cabinet via the Transport Ministry to extend the validity of land expropriation to implement the mass-transit project.
The Cabinet on December 18, 2007 approved a budget of Bt9.21 billion for land expropriation for the Purple Line. Of this amount, Bt4.12 billion was earmarked for expropriation from 2006-08.
For the current fiscal bud-get, there was an initial allocation of Bt1.6 billion, while disbursement of the remaining amount needs a valid Royal Decree.
In addition, the plots for which the authorities have not yet been paid for expropriation may result in a higher burden on the government, as a new evaluation of land prices could entail a higher financial commitment than four years ago.
The source said the delay would also affect the Purple Line's contractors, as they were currently unable to enter the work areas for which payment had not yet been made.
The MRTA has already chosen three groups of contractors for the civil engineering works on the project's three sections. It is now preparing to invite prequalification bids for the fourth section.
CKTC Joint Venture - comprising Ch Karnchang and Tokyo Construction - won the first contract worth Bt14.84 billion, while Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction won the second contract with an offer of Bt15.32 billion. However, the MRTA wants
to negotiate for a lower price of Bt12.6 billion on this contract.
For the third contract, the initial bid winner was PAR Joint Venture - comprising Power Line Engineering, Ascon Construction and Ruamnakorn Construction (Thailand) - which offered the lowest price of Bt6.39 billion.
The MRTA will also negotiate for a lower price with this bid winner.