Japan has agreed to provide a $2.1bn loan for the construction of the $2.7bn Dhaka Metro rail system in Bangladesh.
Construction work on the 20.1km mass rapid transit (MRT) development project from Uttara to Motijheel is scheduled to start in June 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2017.
Bangladeshi Government officials and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are starting discussions to finalise the loan and will sign a deal by the end of 2012.
Under the proposed deal, Japan would give $133 million in 2012 for the first-phase study and design of the metro-rail, and would complete the funding in 2017.
The project suffered a three-year delay due to a change in the route, leading to the appointment of a consultant by the Bangladeshi government for the preparation of detailed designs, which increased the cost of the project from $1.7bn to $2.7bn.
According to the previous plan, the Bangladeshi Government had planned to issue bids for the project by the end of 2011 and start construction by July 2012 with scheduled completion in 2016.
After completion, the electric metro railway is expected to carry around 60,000 people an hour at peak times, helping to ease traffic congestion in the Bangladeshi capital.
The metro route will have stops at Pallabi, Chandrima Udyan, Bijoy Sarani, Shahbagh, TSC, Bangla Academy, Curzon Hall, Topkhana and Bangladesh Bank, with additional routes planned to be added in the future.
The project will be implemented on a public-private partnership basis and will be delivered in three phases, with most of the network laid out over ground.