Thai PM to issue executive order to begin construction of $5bn railway project


The Prime Minister of Thailand Prayuth Chan-o-cha is set to issue an executive order to start construction of a collaborative railway project with China, which is valued at more than $5bn and has been subjected to multiple delays.

A government spokesperson stated that the prime minister is expected to invoke Article 44, which is a security order providing the head of the government with absolute authority to resolve legal and other complications, reported Reuters.

Prime Minister Chan-o-cha is expected to discuss the issue with the cabinet in a meeting scheduled for next week.

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam is currently drafting the order to be discussed during the meeting, reported Bangkokpost.com.

The first phase of the project involves the construction of a 250km railway line between Bangkok and Nakorn Ratchasima, which is a province in north-eastern Thailand.

"It is reported that China will provide technical assistance to the project, while Thailand will supply the majority of the funding."

Thailand Minister of Transport Arkhom Termpittayapaisith stated last month that construction is expected to begin in either August or September this year.

It is reported that China will provide technical assistance to the project, while Thailand will supply the majority of the funding.

The project will also see the construction of an 873km rail line to Laos during a later phase.

The rail project aims to connect China’s industrial zones to trade centres in Southeast Asia as a part of its 'One Belt, One Road' initiative.

It is also expected to provide Thailand with an opportunity to refurbish its railway infrastructure and improve trade relations with neighbouring countries.

The rail project has been affected by multiple snags and delays since its announcement, mainly surrounding construction funding and technical assistance.