March 27, 2016
Honorable Minister, Mr. Obaidul Quader, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges,
His Excellency, Mr. Masato Watanabe, Ambassador of Japan,
Mr. M.A.N. Siddique, Secretary, Road Transport and Highways Division,
Mr. Mofazzel Hossain, Managing Director, Dhaka Mass Transit Co., Ltd.,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Assalam-u-Alaikum and good morning.
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to witness the contract signing for Depot Land Development Works of MRT Line 6 jointly financed by the Government of Bangladesh and JICA with Japan's ODA Loan. JICA's involvement in the MRT Line 6 Project is, indeed, a testimony of the longstanding partnership between Bangladesh and Japan.
Dhaka, nonetheless the capital, suffers from lack of good transport network causing many problems for the city dwellers. Dhaka's population density is 44,000 per square meter and its road ratio is mere 6 percent. This situation is getting worsened day by day, as the volume of vehicles rapidly increases. Time lost on roads due to traffic jam is enormous and undoubtedly a big bottleneck for socio-economic development. Annual economic loss is said to be as large as 200 billion Taka, equivalent to 1.5 percent of GDP or 17 percent of tax revenue.
MRT Line 6 will carry 5 lakh passengers per day and shorten the average travel time from Uttara to Motijeel from 110 minutes to 36 minutes. MRT System may change citizen's lifestyle in many aspects.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
JICA has globally provided financial assistance of 200 billion USD to 27 Metro Rail Projects in 16 megacities, such as New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Cairo and Sophia. JICA has also extended its Technical Cooperation to Bangladesh for its preparation of Metro Rail Act and Rules, Updating of the existing Strategic Transport Plan, ‘Rapid Pass' IC Card and Integrated Traffic Management. The Revised Strategic Transport Plan will formulate an efficient and effective urban-transport development plan for the Dhaka Metropolitan Area up to the Year 2035.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we all know, the Government of Bangladesh has assigned a high priority to the Dhaka MRT Line-6 Development Project as one of the fast-track projects. It is a propitious sign for the Project that Tokyu Construction Co., Ltd., a well-reputed major construction company in Japan, has been appointed as the first civil contractor for the Project. I am sure that Tokyu Construction Co., Ltd. will not only ensure quality but also transfer advance technologies to local engineers. JICA would also like to dispatch Japanese experts in due course to transfer "Technology for Building Metro Rail" to Bangladeshi engineers. Japanese assistance places emphasis not only on building physical structure but also on building capacity of Bangladeshi people through "learning by doing" during implementation, operation and maintenance of ODA projects.
In conclusion, I would like to thank concerted efforts of the people involved which have so far kept the Project progressing on the original schedule. I hope that all the parties concerned will continue cooperation to keep the pace and do their best in performing each duty of providing a safe and congenial on-site environment, ensuring high standard of construction and management.
Shobaike Onek Donnobad. Thank you very much.