The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) of Bangladesh has approved two large mass rapid transit (MRT) projects worth BDT940bn ($10.8bn).

The approval has been granted for MRT Line 1 and MRT Line 5 (Northern Route), which will overhaul Dhaka’s transport system.

Around BDT690.4bn will be financed by external organisations, such as Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The government will contribute BDT304.6bn, while the transport agency will fund the remaining BDT5.16bn.

The two projects will receive BDT685.67bn from the JICA, of which BDT394.5bn is allotted to the Line 1 project and BDT291.17bn for Line 5 project.

The 31.24km Line 1 will connect Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur Railway Station. It will be the first underground metro line in the country.

The Line will also feature an elevated branch between Notun Bazar to Purbachal Depot. The project is estimated to complete by 2026.

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The Line 5 will span from Hemayetpur to Bhatara via Gabtoli, Banani and Gulshan. The 20km line, featuring underground and elevated sections, is estimated to complete by 2028.

An additional eight projects were also approved which included four revised projects. The total cost of the 10 projects approved by the ECNEC is BDT1tn ($11.58bn).

In September last year, India and Bangladesh started construction on the Agartala-Akhaura rail project to help increase railway connectivity between the two countries.

In June, the Bangladesh Government signed a new agreement with two companies to carry out a feasibility study and detailed design works to build a high-speed railway between the capital Dhaka and seaport city of Chittagong.