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Japan-India JV wins contract for Bangladesh’s first mass transit system

Nna/kyodo

A joint venture between trading house Marubeni Corp. and an Indian engineering and construction firm has won a contract for Bangladesh’s first mass rapid transit system, called the Dhaka MRT Line 6.

Marubeni says it and Larsen & Toubro Ltd. will supply electrical and mechanical railway systems for Dhaka MRT Line 6 for about ¥55 billion ($500 million), representing the first Japanese-Indian joint venture to take on a railway project in a third country.

The aim of Dhaka MRT Line 6 is to reduce chronic traffic congestion in Dhaka, the capital. The line consists of an elevated linkage about 20 km long with 16 stations from Uttara North to Motijheel, the Tokyo-based trading house says.

Construction of the first phase of the two-stage project is scheduled to start in July. The entire train line will become fully operational in September 2022, according to a Marubeni spokeswoman and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is in charge of handling Japan’s official development assistance.

Earlier, Marubeni and Larsen tied up to build two power plants in Bangladesh, the spokeswoman said.

“Utilizing each party’s advantages, this project offers a competitive edge in terms of the quality of products and price competitiveness,” Marubeni said in a statement, adding it “will not only strive to participate in more urban railway projects, but also in other infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.”

The Bangladesh urban train project, financed with ODA from the Japanese government, is expected to alleviate congestion and air pollution in Dhaka, which has a population of over 15 million.

Marubeni has already been involved in several railway projects in the South Asian country, including a 2011 contract to supply 11 diesel locomotive carriages to the state-backed Bangladesh Railway.