Underground rail loan deal with Japan in June

The government is going to construct a 31.24-kilometre underground rail line in the capital with funding from Japan. The project involves constructing five metro rail services across the capital with a view to easing traffic congestion. Japan has agreed to provide loans for Bangladesh to build its first underground rail line, sources said.

Bangladesh is likely to finalise the 40th loan package with the Japan International Cooperation Agency in June, a senior official of the Economic Relations Division said. The 31.24-km MRT Line-1 will have two segments-- around 19.87km from Airport to Kamalapur with 16.4km underground, and around 11.36km of elevated rail from Notun Bazar to Purbachal. The design of the underground rail has been prepared, an official.

The first part of the MRT-1 project will be the airport route. It will stretch from the terminal 3 of Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur via Khilkhet, Jamuna Future Park, Notun Bazar, Badda, Hatirjheel, Rampura, Malibagh and Razarbagh. It will be 16.4 kilometres long. The second part of the underground rail will be the Purbachal route. It will stretch from Notun Bazar to Purbachal Depot via Jamuna Future Park. This route will cover 10.2 kilometres.
Dhaka Mass Transit Company will implement the project.

The interest rate will be 0.95 percent and the loan has to be repaid within 30 years. The final loan agreement is expected to happen in June, an ERD official said last week, adding that the amount would be decided later on. The estimated project cost has been set at Tk 50,000 crore, but the actual amount will be known after the design is finalised, according to the ERD.

Japan is also funding the country's first elevated metro rail, MRT Line-6, from Uttara to Motijheel. Construction of the 20.1-km track is now underway and may be completed by this year. The government wants to build all the five metro lines -- one elevated, one underground, and three underground plus elevated -- in the capital and its adjacent areas by 2030 to ease traffic and reduce pollution, the two major problems facing the mega city of more than 1.5 crore residents.
Of its total length, 3.65km would be for transition from underground to elevated and vice versa.