BANGLADESH: The government and Japan International Co-operation Agency have signed a ¥115·237bn official development assistance loan to finance work on Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Line 1.

Dhaka Metro Line 1 JICA ODA loan

JICA has provided number of ODA loans in recent years to support the Revised Dhaka Strategic Urban Transport Plan, which includes the development of five metro lines and two bus rapid transit routes.

These aim to alleviate traffic congestion and mitigate air pollution in the capital; JICA notes that in 2014 the average vehicle speed in Dhaka was 6·4 km/h, less than half the 14·7 km/h recorded in central Tokyo.

MRT Line 1 will start at Kamalapur railway station in the centre of Dhaka and run underground 19·9 km north to Natun Bazar and the international airport. An 11·3 km elevated branch will diverge at Nadda, with trains running east from Natun Bazar to the Purbachal residential area. Serving 19 stations in total, Line 1 is one of three priority routes, along with the 19·9 km elevated north-south Line 6 now nearing completion and the east-west Line 5.

The ODA loan for Line 1 was signed on November 22. It carries an interest rate of 0·01% for the element to support consultancy services and 0·60% for the rest of the project, with a 10-year grace period and a repayment period of 30 years.

Feasibility studies, surveys and main designs for Line 1 have already been completed and initial procurements have begun, ready for the start of construction. Opening of the line is envisaged for August 2027.