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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        2  May 2011

New authority urged for high-speed rail

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Thailand’s State Enterprise Policy Office has proposed establishing a new state enterprise to take care of the government's high-speed train routes instead of letting them be run by the State Railway of Thailand.

Director-general Somchai Sujjapongse said under international standards, when new high-value investment projects affect the overall economy, a new company is created to manage the projects. Before any changes can be made, discussions must first take place with the Ministry of Transport, which is in charge of the state railway, and the owners of land where the routes will be constructed.

Any new company will still be a state enterprise in which the government would be a major shareholder. "We are proposing this for a high-value project because the capacity of the state railway is limited and slow," Dr Somchai said.

The government plans to build five high-speed train routes including the 754-kilometre Bangkok-Chiang Mai route, which will cost 232 billion baht, and the 221-km Bangkok-Rayong route that will cost 74.8 billion. The other three routes are Bangkok-Ubon Ratchathani, Bangkok-Nong Khai and Bangkok-Padang Besar.

In the next five years, state enterprises will invest some 2 trillion baht in other sectors including logistics and energy.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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