12:00 AM, February 21, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 21, 2013

Metro rail loan deal signed

Japan to provide $116m this fiscal year; deal for the rest fund later

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Staff Correspondent


Bangladesh and Japan yesterday signed separate deals under which Tokyo will provide $792.82 million to implement four projects, including the long-cherished metro rail system.
Of the amount, $784.82 million is soft loan while the rest $8 million is grant. With an interest rate of 0.01 percent, the loan is payable in 40 years including 10 years of grace period.
For the metro rail project, Japan is initially providing $116.32 million.
Japan had earlier agreed to provide 85 percent of the total metro rail cost of $2.7 billion, while the rest of the money will be borne by the government.
Yesterday's deal was for a pre-construction phase. A separate deal for the rest of the funding for the project would be signed at a later date, officials said.
The $116.32 million will be provided within the current fiscal year for a detailed design of metro 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, the city commuters are not going to get the service before 2021.
As per a JICA study, metro rail will operate every three minutes and carry 60,000 passengers per hour. There will be 16 stations on the route.
Two other deals signed yesterday were on the development of power transmission network, for which Japan is providing $208 million, and development of Bheramara combined cycle power plant, for which Japan's loan is $460.5 million.
Japan is giving the grant of $8 million for ground water investigation and development of deep groundwater source 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).
POWER TRANSMISSION NETWORK DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
The objectives of this project are to upgrade and enhance capacity of the 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.
The JICA assistance will be used for installation of materials, construction and consulting services. The total cost of the project is Tk 2,426 crore and be implemented in five years.
COMBINED POWER PLANT DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
A 360-megawatt power plant will be set up under the project to meet increasing demand for electricity in the country's northwest region at a cost of Tk 4,140 crore. The project was launched in 2010 with a target to complete it by next year.
GROUNDWATER INVESTIGATION PROJECT
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 estimated cost of the project is Tk 103 crore. The project will kick off this year and will be completed by 2019, according to official documents.

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