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JICA sets conditions for metro rail project

Shakhawat Hossain

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has attached conditions for funding the construction of the planned Elevated Metro Railway that aims at easing mass transport problems in the capital, officials said.
JICA wants the communications ministry, main implementing agency of the estimated $1.7 billion infrastructure project, to constitute a company to operate the proposed high-speed train.
This is one of the major conditions set by the Japanese lender along with measures to uphold integrity of the project which has already been delayed by more than one year due to selection of route alignment.
The delay might cause escalation of the project cost by an additional $1 billion, said the officials.
 Communications secretary MAN Siddique admitted that the funding agency had imposed some conditions which needed to be implemented before the signing of the loan deal.
He told New Age that they had already made good progress in fulfilling the key condition. ‘Already a draft of the proposed company has been prepared,’ he said, adding ‘We are going to send it to the cabinet committee soon for approval,’ he added.
The communications ministry officials said the name of the company has been proposed as the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited with an authorised capital of Tk 10,000 crore.    
The ministry of communications has proposed to hold majority shares of the state-owned company with 9,999,999, 880 shares. The Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority has been offered 50 shares in the draft.
It also proposed to award 10 shares apiece to the Prime Minister’s Office, ministry of home affairs, ministry of local government, ministry of finance, railway ministry and ministry of power and managing director of the company.
About other conditions, officials said the government had already made substantial progress in formulating a policy on maintaining national integrity.
They said the government would formulate the policy as it was also an unofficial condition set by the lenders for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project. World Bank is financing the mega river project as leading donor. JICA is also a major co-financer along with the Asian Development Bank.
The communications ministry officials said the project proposal was still awaiting approval by the planning commission. The ministry of communications sought approval of the project in January last as per the working plan. But till the date, the project plan has not been approved.  
 Selection of routes of the
metro railway has already delayed the project by more than one year.
The Air Force had raised objection to the original route alignment that was to pass through Bijoy Sarani. The government bowed to the pressure and changed the route and finalised the alignment through Khamarbari and Sangsad Bhaban area instead of Bijoy Sarani.
JICA has already completed a feasibility study on the 26km long metro system from Uttara to Sayedabad via Pallabi, Chandrima Udyan, Khamarbari, Shahbagh, Bangla Academy, Curzon Hall, Topkhana and Bangladesh Bank.
Additional routes will be introduced in future. Around 40,000 to 45,000 people will be able to travel the route in an hour. 

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