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Bangladesh, Japan sign metro rail loan deal

Publication Date : 21-02-2013


Bangladesh and Japan signed separate deals on Wednesday under which Tokyo will provide US$792.82 million to implement four projects in Bangladesh, including the long-cherished metro rail system.

Of the amount, US$784.82 million is a soft loan while the rest is a grant. With an interest rate of 0.01 percent, the loan is payable in 40 years including a 10-year grace period.

Japan will initially be providing US$116.32 million.

Japan had earlier agreed to provide 85 percent of the total metro rail cost of US$2.7 billion, while the rest of the cost was to be borne by the Bangladeshi government.

Wednesday's deal was for a pre-construction phase. A separate deal for the rest of the funding for the project will be signed at a later date, officials said.

The US$116.32 million will be provided within the current fiscal year for a detailed design of themetro rail project. The 20.1-kilometre metro rail, the country's first-ever, starts from Uttara Third Phase and touches Pallabi, Mirpur-10, Khamarbari, Farmgate, Sonargaon Hotel, Shahbagh, Doel Chattar and Topkhana Road before ending at Motijheel.

A consultant will be appointed soon to prepare the design, which will take two to three years. This means construction of the metro rail will begin at the end of 2016 and take five years to complete. So, city commuters are not going to get the service before 2021.

Two other deals signed Wednesday were with regards to the development of a power transmission network, for which Japan is providing US$208 million, and development of the Bheramara combined cycle power plant, for which Japan's loan is US$460.5 million.

Japan is also giving a grant of US$8 million for ground water investigation and development of deep groundwater sources in urban and rural areas.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Abul Kalam Azad and Japan's Ambassador in Dhaka Shiro Sadoshima signed the agreements at the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in presence of Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Communications Minister Obaidul Quader, PM's Energy Adviser Toufiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and the Chief Representative of JICA (Japan International Development Cooperation).

The objectives of this project are to upgrade and enhance the capacity of Bangladesh's national power transmission network through construction and expansion of transmission lines as well as sub-stations in Chittagong, Comilla, Lakshmipur, Mymensingh, Barisal, Shariatpur, Jessore, Bogra, Rajshahi and Nilphamari districts.

A 360-megawatt power plant will be set up under the project to meet increasing demand for electricity in the country's northwest region. The project was launched in 2010 with a target to complete it by next year.

The project aims at searching potential safe sources of deep aquifer in the arsenic and saline water prone areas. Big diameter production well using advanced technology will also be dug under it. Japanese experts will train the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) staff on the use of geophysical survey equipment for their capacity development on drilling of deep well and groundwater exploration techniques. The project will kick off this year and will be completed by 2019, according to official documents.



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