Not Japan, South Korea is joining Metrorail Kamalapur-Narayanganj route
Bangladesh entered the era of the first metro rail by the hands of Japan. Uttara to Kamalapur Line-6 is being financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The country is also providing financial support to two projects in the ongoing MRT 1 and 5.
But in Bangladesh Metrorail means Japan, the government is coming out of this trend. The government has decided to take financial and technical assistance from South Korea for the Metrorail Line-4 project.
The route will start from Kamalapur and end at Madanpur in Narayanganj. Several policy meetings have been held with the country. South Korea has shown interest in connecting with Metrorail in Bangladesh.
Although Japan is expected to stay with the construction of the proposed Metrorail Line-4, it is ultimately left out. The proposal was formally sent to South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) last week seeking funding for the project.
According to Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) information, the MRT-4 route will start from Kamalapur and end at Madanpur in Narayanganj via Sayedabad-Jatrabari-Shanir Akhra-Signboard-Chittagong road. The length of metro rail will be 16 km. The initial cost for its implementation has been fixed at 28,400 crores. Of this, South Korea’s EDCF will provide a loan of Tk 21,250 crore. The government will bear 7 thousand 150 crores. DMTCL officials, however, say the cost is not final. How much money will be spent will be known only after detailed survey.
Why South Korea instead of Japan?
To reduce the traffic congestion in Dhaka city, the government is building a total of five metrorails. JICA is funding all three of them. The country also wanted to finance the proposed MRT 4 project.
However, the Bangladesh government did not move forward. We talked to five officials of the concerned department to know why the government is taking South Korea instead of Japan in this project.
They said that South Korea and Japan’s metro rail standards are equal. After reviewing the cost of the metro rail in the two countries, it is found that the cost of the metro rail will be less if the loan from South Korea is taken compared to Japan. Apart from that, as a single country, three metrorails are under the credit of Japan, so the opportunity to negotiate with them has decreased. The government has to accept the cost that the country is taking. The government has decided to go to an alternative route outside of Japan mainly to increase competition.
However, information says that a memorandum of cooperation was signed between Bangladesh and Japan in 2017. It is said there that the MRT-4 project will be implemented at the government level of the two countries through the PPP system. However, the government has moved away from that position.
Emdad Ullah Mian, a member (secretary) of the Planning Commission involved in processing the MRT-4 project, told Prothom Alo that South Korea will finance the project. It has been decided. He said that this decision is for competition in the Metrorail project.
On condition of anonymity, an official related to the Metrorail Line-6 project told Prothom Alo that under this project, there was an opportunity to further reduce the money spent on purchase of piers and train carriages. Since the Japanese government funded the project, they were obligated to purchase equipment from the country. There was no opportunity to see the market for that.
Sayedabad bus terminal is moving; Metrorail route is changing
The route of the Metrorail Line-4 project in the Revised Strategic Transport Plan or RSTP was from Kamalapur to Narayanganj railway line. But that route has been changed. It has been corrected from Kamalapur to Madanpur in Narayanganj. As an argument, DMTCL officials say that Bangladesh Railway has taken up a project to build a double line from Kamalapur to Narayanganj. On the other hand, the Padma Setu Rail Link project also falls under the same route. That is why the route has been changed in the MRT-4 project. Meanwhile, to implement the Metrorail Line-4 project, the old Syedabad Bus Terminal will have to be removed. In that case the bus terminal will be moved to Madanpur. The depot of MRT-4 will also be in Madanpur.
Metrorail Line-4 Public Relations Officer (Deputy Secretary) Nazmul Islam Bhuiyan told Prothom Alo that discussions have been held with South Korea regarding the financing of this project. It has been decided to take a loan from them. The related project proposal has been sent to the country.
How much does it cost?
The first metro rail of the country is Line-6. The route will start from Uttara and end at Kamalapur. The route from Uttara to Agargaon was launched on December 28. According to DMTCL, it will be possible to start up to Motijheel by the end of this year and up to Kamalapur in 2025.
21.26 km long metro rail is costing 33 thousand 471 crore taka. Out of this, JICA is giving a loan of Tk 19,675 crore. The government will provide the remaining 13 thousand 796 crore rupees.
Metrorail Line-1 will start from Airport area and end at Kamalapur Railway Station area. The total cost of implementing the 31 km long project will be Tk 51 thousand 900 crore. Out of this, a loan of Tk 33 thousand 914 crore will be received from JICA. The remaining 17 thousand 986 crores will be given by the government.
Under Metrorail Line-5, Savar will start from Hemayetpur and end at Bhatara. The total cost of implementing the project has been estimated at 41 thousand 261 crores. Out of this, JICA will give a loan of 30 thousand 756 crores. The government will give 10 thousand 505 crores. Asian Development Bank ADB has also joined this project.