Under a government-to-government initiative, Bangladesh is seeking multi-billion dollar support from Japan for implementing 18 infrastructure projects, including a second Padma bridge and a second metro rail line.
The 6.1km bridge would link Paturia and Goalondo thus better connecting Dhaka with the western and south-western districts while the metro rail would run from Ashulia to Kamalapur via Savar.
The estimated cost of 11 of the 18 projects is $10 billion. The cost evaluation for the other projects is going on.
Under the new initiative, the Public Private Partnership Authority of Bangladesh has submitted project proposals to its Japanese counterpart at the first meeting of Japan-Bangladesh Joint PPP Platform at a city hotel on December 6, PPPA officials say. The PPPA works under the Prime Minister's Office.
"The Japanese government will give its feedback by March on five to seven projects that they could be interested to work on," a high official of the PPPA told The Daily Star.
The other projects include a 129km ring road around the capital, improvement of the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar highway, construction of Terminal-1 at Payra Port, development of Integrated Township Project at Mirpur, construction of Circular Railway Line around Dhaka city, renovation of Kamalapur Railway Station etc.
During a meeting with State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid in the city on December 17, Hiroyasu Izumi, ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, said Japanese companies were interested in investing under the new PPP initiative.
"Real implementation [of PPP projects with Japan] will be visible from next year," he said.
PPPA officials told The Daily Star that Japanese companies were expected to start a feasibility study from next March and come up with exact project cost and revenue generation later.
"We will hold a win-win negotiation with Japan so that Bangladesh is not burdened with expenses while Japanese companies can earn profit,” said a high official of the PPPA.
The Joint PPP platform was formed following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries in Japan in June.
Yasuki Kaibori, deputy minister for Japan's land, infrastructure, transport and tourism ministry, and four of his ministry officials attended the December 6 meeting in Dhaka. The Bangladesh side was represented by officials from the PPPA, PMO, and ministries concerned.
Apart from establishing Dhaka's direct communication with the western and south western parts of Bangladesh, the second Padma bridge would also connect the capital with the land ports in Benapole and Darshona, according to the concept paper of the project.
The estimated cost of the project is $3 billion. It includes land acquisition and resettlement costs.
Earlier, the finance ministry sought fund from several other development partners to build the bridge. But it did not get any response.
"Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project-2" (MRT Line-2) is dubbed the second metro rail project.
The proposed route of MRT Line-2 is Ashulia-Savar-Gabtoli-Azimpur-Buet-Kamalapur. It would cover around 40kms.
"The MRT Line-2 has been conceptualised to meet the huge demand of over 1.1 million passengers every day on the proposed route," says the concept paper of the project.
A land redevelopment project in Old Dhaka was also discussed at the December 6 meeting. The project site is in Bangshal, Babu Bazar, English Road and Hazaribagh areas.
The objective of the project is economic revitalisation of the areas through proper urbanisation and creation of low congestion and pollution free locality.
Under the project, locals would be moved from risky and dilapidated buildings to the environment-friendly and modern high-rises.
More flats would be constructed and the existing roads would be widened as well, said the concept paper.
With an approximate length of 129km, the ring road around the capital would facilitate people to travel from one part of the city to another without having to face much congestion, said the concept paper.
The ring road would have six transportation hubs, including bus terminals, bus depots, passenger transfer and freight transfer points, and other access facilities. The cost of the project has been estimated at $2.87 billion.
Improvement of Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Highway is another major project placed before the Japanese delegation.
With an estimated cost of $1.46 billion, including the cost for land acquisition, resettlement and utility lines shifting, the existing two lane 136km highway would be turned into a dual carriageway with two service lanes on both sides.
Technical feasibility and detailed design for the expansion of the road was done in 2014-15 and some design adjustments would be necessary to improve the road as an access controlled highway.
The other projects include construction of a new Inland Container Depot near Dhirasram Railway Station in Gazipur; development of the economic zone in Araihazar of Narayanganj, construction of Multimodal Hub at Kamalapur Railway Station, construction of Multimodal Hub at Dhaka Biman Bandar Railway Station, construction of a bridge over Golachipa river in Patuakhali; construction of a bridge over Arial Khan river; and establishment of a medical college and modernisation of Railway Hospital in Saidpur of Nilphamari and Paksey of Pabna.
This move is seen as Japan's interest in investing in Bangladesh's infrastructure projects under the new arrangement where Japanese companies would work under the government-to-government system, said PPPA officials.
Japan has been providing Bangladesh with nearly $2 billion as soft loans every year since fiscal 2012-13.
And the new arrangement comes amid commitments of billions of dollar from China and India for several infrastructure projects in Bangladesh. Chinese and Indian companies have already started working in projects either through limited bidding or without.