Japan positive about metro rail funding: JICABangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka
A senior Japanese official has said Tokyo was ‘positive’ about funding Bangladesh’s ambitious metro rail project for Dhaka as preparatory works were under way as he rejected a media report fearing the Japanese assistance for the project.
‘Preparatory stage of the metro rail project is going on and so far we are positive about the Bangladesh government’s approach towards the project,’ Japan International Cooperation Agency’s chief representative in Dhaka Takao Toda told the news agency.
He added: ‘It (the report) is not true.’
As approached for the comment in a major national daily, Toda said JICA was supporting Bangladesh to take a holistic approach to ease Dhaka’s notorious traffic congestion and ‘is positively discussing the matters with government of Bangladesh’.
Toda’s comments came hours after a senior JICA official called on the communications minister, Obaidul Quader, to explain Tokyo’s stance about the funding for the metro rail against the backdrop of a newspaper report.
The report quoting Bangladesh ambassador in Tokyo said JICA board in a meeting on April 18 declined to provide the soft loan as Dhaka’s preparedness made the agency skeptical about project.
‘(But) our ambassador in Tokyo confirmed me that he didn’t talk to any journalist about the metro rail issue and there was no JICA board meeting on the project was held as written in the report,’ Obaidul meanwhile told newsmen at a briefing at his Rail Bhaban office.
He added: ‘I can clear one thing, there is no hindrance in setting up metro rail . it’s now only matter of time.’
Obaidul said senior JICA official Koi Toyama earlier Thursday met him and reiterated their positive stand about the project and ‘the Senior Representative (of JICA) also talked to the editor of the newspaper and clarified their position’.
‘I would like to say just one thing, journalists should play responsible role side by side the politicians,’ he said as asked if the government would issue any rejoinder for the report in the much circulation major national daily.
The government already finalised the route of 20-km metro rail with 15 stations from Uttara 3rd phase to Bangladesh bank in Motijheel via Pallabi-Rokyea Sarani-Khamar Bari-Farmgate-Shahbag- Doel Chattar-Topkhana road at an estimated cost of $2.7 billion while Tokyo earlier showed keen interest to provide financial and technical assistance for the project.
Earlier Thursday, the Indian deputy high commissioner to Bangladesh, Sanjay Bhattacharya, called on him to discuss the proposed rail link between Akhaura and Agartola under Indian state fund.
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