BANGKOK, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Thai government on Tuesday approved the supervision contract of the first phase of the Thailand-China railway project after approving the design contract last Tuesday, paving the way for the two countries to sign them early next month.
The cabinet approved the Construction Supervision Consultant Services Agreement with a budget of 3.5 billion baht (103 million U.S. dollars), which has been increased from some 1.6 billion baht (48.5 million U.S. dollars) earlier provided.
Thailand and China are going to sign these two contracts during Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's visit to China, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Tuesday.
Prayut is set to attend dialogues between leaders of BRICS members and emerging economies and other developing countries on the sideline of the BRICS summit to be held early next month in China.
"Signing these two contracts are necessary for the beginning of the construction," Kobsak Pootrakool, vice minister at the Prime Minister's Office told media after the cabinet meeting.
As for the increased budget, Kobsak explained that new works, mainly keeping the construction site safe, have been added into the supervision contract of the project.
The first phase of the railway, a 253-km high speed railway running from Bangkok to the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, is approved by Thai cabinet in July with an estimated 179 billion baht (5.2 billion U.S. dollars) in funding.
A planned second phase will run from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai on Thai-Lao border and to join hands with the China-Laos railway to form the artery railway from Bangkok to Kunming in southern China.
Sections of the planned cross-border railway outside Thailand are already under construction such as the China-Laos railway.