Japan eyes big projects in Bangladesh

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - A dozen Japanese firms show interest in 8 projects including 2nd Padma bridge,2nd metro rail under G2G initiative

Under a new government-to-government initiative, more than a dozen Japanese companies have shown interest in investing in eight infrastructure projects, including a second Padma bridge and another metro rail.

More than one Japanese company has expressed interest in each project and sought detailed information on those, said several officials of Bangladesh's Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA). 

On February 7, the PPPA, which represents Bangladesh in the process, held a meeting with different agencies involved in the projects and asked their officials to provide it with the maps and other particulars of the projects within two weeks, they said.

“In the first phase, the process of implementing three to four projects will start by this year. We have got very positive response from the Japanese companies,” said a high official of the PPPA, seeking anonymity.

“The projects to be implemented in the first phase will be selected at a government-level meeting in Japan in May or June,” said the official.

Under the new arrangement, Japanese companies will invest under the government-to-government system without participating in any bidding.

At the first meeting of the Japan-Bangladesh Joint PPP Platform on December 6 last year, Bangladesh's PPPA sought multi-billion dollar support from Japan for implementing 18 infrastructure projects.

The Joint PPP platform was formed following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries in Tokyo in June last year.

Early this year, Japan's land, infrastructure, transport and tourism ministry talked to Japanese companies and over a dozen firms showed interest in the eight projects, according to PPPA officials.

The companies include Kajima Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, Nippon Koei Co Ltd, Marubeni Corporation, Oriental Consultants Global Co Ltd, Mitsui and Co Ltd, and Mitsubishi Corporation.

The projects involve construction of a second Padma Multipurpose Bridge at Paturia-Goalanda, an inland container depot near Dhirasram Railway Station in Gazipur, multimodal hubs at Kamalapur Railway Station and Dhaka Biman Bandar Railway Station, circular railway line around Dhaka city, Outer Ring Road along with six transportation hubs, and Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (MRT Line-2), and improvement of Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Highway.

The PPPA on February 7 held a meeting with officials of Bangladesh Railway, Roads and Highways Department, Bangladesh Bridge Authority and Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), and asked them to give it documents, including maps of project areas and reports on feasibility studies.

The railway is involved in four projects -- container depot, multimodal hubs and circular railway line -- and the DTCA in two projects -- the Outer Ring Road and the MRT Line-2.

The Bridge Authority is involved in the second Padma bridge, and the RHD in the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Highway project.

Talking to this newspaper, DTCA Executive Director Syed Ahmed said, “We will submit all the documents related to our projects within the stipulated time.”

“These two projects [a second metro rail and the Outer Ring Road] are in the revised Strategic Transport Plan,” he told The Daily Star on February 14.

SECOND METRO RAIL
The MRT Line-2 is dubbed the second metro rail project. Its proposed route is Ashulia-Savar-Gabtoli-Azimpur-Buet-Kamalapur covering around 40 kilometres.

"The MRT Line-2 has been conceptualised to meet the huge demand of over 1.1 million passengers on the proposed route every day," says the project's concept paper.

The DTCA recently submitted a proposal involving Tk 13 crore to the road transport and bridges ministry for conducting a pre-feasibility study on the MRT Line-2, officials said.

OUTER RING ROAD
As per the revised STP, three types of ring roads have been proposed for Dhaka city.

The Inner Ring Road is along the Balu and the Buriganga rivers, while the Middle Ring Road is in alignment with the Dhaka Bypass Road.

The route of the Outer Ring Road will be Hemayetpur-Kalakandi-Madanpur-Danga-Bypile-Gazipur, and its estimated cost will be $2,875 million.

The length of the Inner Ring Road will be 73.2 km, the Middle Ring Road 108 km and the Outer Ring Road 129 km, as per the revised STP.

The DTCA also requested the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) to conduct a pre-feasibility study on Outer Link Road project, and the LGED agreed to do that, officials said.

Ahmed said he is visiting the project areas to select places for six transportation hubs.

SECOND PADMA BRIDGE
The 6.1km-long second Padma Bridge will link Paturia to Goalondo, connecting Dhaka directly with the western and south-western districts.

It will also connect the capital with Benapole and Darshana land ports, according to the project's concept paper.

The estimated cost of the project is $3 billion which includes land acquisition and resettlement costs.

MULTIMODAL HUBS
Two multimodal hubs will be built at Kamalapur Railway Station and Dhaka Biman Bandar Railway Station at a cost of $700 million.

Officials said the hubs will have road and rail connectivity as well as flyovers for facilitating easy movement of commuters.

However, both the projects are now at an initial stage as no pre-feasibility study has been conducted yet, they said.

CIRCULAR RAILWAY LINE
The estimated cost of Circular Railway Line around Dhaka City is $1,000 million.

The government has already done a pre-feasibility study.

Railway Secretary Mofazzel Hossain said they have already launched a feasibility study on the project. 

DEPOT NEAR DHIRASRAM
Construction of an inland container depot near Dhirasram Railway Station involves $146 million.

A feasibility study on the project has already been done.

CTG-COX'S BAZAR HIGHWAY
The estimated cost of the project is $1,462 million.

The two-lane highway will be turned into a four-lane one under the project, said PPPA officials.

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