JICA worried about metro rail progress in Bangladesh

The Japan International Corporation Agency has expressed its dissatisfaction at the slow progress of the Dhaka Metro Rail Project in Bangladesh funded by the organisation.

JICA has conveyed the dissatisfaction at a meeting with the finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, who visited Japan recently, finance ministry officials said.

Muhith, who returned home on Tuesday after the week long visit, told JICA officials that the project would have the expected progress after resolution of the problems.

He has, meanwhile, sought technical assistance from JICA in the evaluation process of the Padma Bridge tender.

JICA opted not to give its committed loan to the bridge project after the World Bank had suspended its $1.2 billion loan citing a ‘conspiracy of corruption.’

JICA officials identified that a delay in appointment of officials to the newly set up Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited was the main worry.

In January, the government approved the constitution of the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited but it is yet to appoint officials to the company that will be responsible to implement and run the high-speed train aimed at serving mass transport in the congested capital.

JICA has already signed a deal with the government in February to fund 85 per cent of the total metro rail cost of $2.7 billion.

Officials of the communications ministry that holds 99 per cent share of the company said that they had already asked the public administration ministry for manpower for the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited.

Besides, they said that Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, responsible for the city planning, has already handed over 41 acres of land to the projects in June.

The officials said that the ministry had sought consent from JICA to invite expression of interest for consultant appointment.

The selection of routes of the metro railway has already delayed the project by more than a year.
The Air Force had raised objection to the original route alignment that was to pass through Bijay Sarani.

The government bowed to the pressure and changed the route and finalised the alignment through Khamarbari and the national assembly complex instead of Bijay Sarani.

JICA has already completed a feasibility study on the 26km metro system from Uttara to Sayedabad via Pallabi, Chandrima Udyan, Khamarbari, Shahbagh, Bangla Academy, Curzon Hall, Topkhana and the Bangladesh Bank.

Additional routes will be introduced in the future. Around 40,000 to 45,000 people will be able to travel using the route in an hour.