Illustrative image (Source: The Bangkok Post)

Bangkok (VNA)
– The Thai-Chinese railway scheme is poised to suffer another setback if the Chinese side fails to submit the project’s design document needed to estimate the rail’s costs on time, the Thai media said on March 28.

Earlier, China submitted the project design of the 252.5 km high-speed train linking Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima, but the content related to construction materials and components was written in Chinese.

The Thai authorities asked China to translate it into English and submit the document by the end of this month. If the document is not submitted on time, the 17th meeting of the Thai-Sino panel overseeing the high-speed railway project to be held in Beijing will be called off.

The project design is about 80 percent complete. The remaining 20 percent includes the translation of construction materials from Chinese to Thailand. Without the document, the State Railway of Thailand cannot estimate the construction costs and set up a reference price necessary for project bidding.

If the 17th meeting is further delayed, the 179 billion THB rail development scheme will also be delayed and this could lead to cancellation.

At this stage it is still not known when the rail development project will be submitted to the cabinet for approval and even if the construction design is completed, Thai authorities still have to assess the health and environmental impacts.

Another issue which could hinder the project is the issuing of professional licences for 300 Chinese engineers working for the project. Under Thai laws, foreign engineers who work for construction project in the country need to pass an examination and hold local profession licences.

The Thai Transport Ministry will meet with the Council of Engineers on March 30 to discuss the issue. Thai authorities are considering organising exams in China due to the large number of engineers.

Meanwhile, Japan will submit a full report to Thailand in June on the Thai-Japanese high-speed rail project linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai.-VNA