Govt, ADB ink $333m loan deal for power, transport sectors

Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka | Published: 00:27, Dec 12,2019


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $333.26 million in loans for expansion of power transmission lines and designing the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line.

In this regard, the government on Wednesday inked several agreements with the ADB at a function at the National Economic Council (NEC) conference room in the capital, said a press release.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) secretary Monowar Ahmed and ADB country director Manmohan Parkash signed the agreements on behalf of their respective sides.

For expanding power transmission lines in greater Dhaka and the western zone of Bangladesh, the government signed agreement for 271.84 million euros ($300 million equivalent) loans.

Besides ADB’s loan, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is considering $200 million in cofinancing to finance transmission lines, substations and an enterprise resource planning system.

The assistance also comprises a $7,50,000 grant from China’s Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund (PRC Fund).

Manmohan Parkash said that upgrading and expanding the transmission network was crucial to improving power supply efficiency after significant improvement in power production in Bangladesh.

‘The project will help to achieve the government’s target of electricity for all by 2021 by improving the reliability and efficiency of the electricity supply in greater Dhaka and the western zone of Bangladesh,’ he added.

The project builds on the ADB’s previous work in Bangladesh’s power sector, including the Southwest Transmission Grid Expansion project approved in 2018 to address continuing deficiencies in the transmission system by providing more efficient, reliable power to consumers in greater Dhaka and the western zones.

The assistance for the Dhaka and Western Zone Transmission Grid Expansion Project will be utilised to construct 40 kilometres (km) of transmission lines and 4,450 megavolt-ampere (MVA) of substations in greater Dhaka, as well as 368 km of transmission lines, 3,070 MVA of substations, and 20 bay extensions in the western zone.

It will also establish an enterprise resource planning system and a Drone Inspection Centre to improve operation efficiency and enhance workspace safety in the executing agency, the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited.

The new project will continue to fund high-level advanced conductors (high temperature low sag), that were used in the 2018 project, to allow more power transfer at lower energy losses.

With assistance from the PRC Fund, the project will introduce the innovative drone technology in Bangladesh to improve operational efficiency and safety.

Under another agreement, the ADB will provide $33.26 million in loans for a project to design the Dhaka MRT line 5 (Southern Route) that will help ease the traffic and pollution burden of Dhaka city.

The assistance for financing project readiness will carry out detailed feasibility studies, engineering design and procurement documentation in preparation for the 17.4-kilometre (km) line, which will be constructed between Gabtoli and Dasherkandi in Dhaka.

Line 5 is one of the three high-priority lines in the capital planned for completion by 2030. The planned MRT Line 5 will serve as one of the city’s few east-west corridors and provide connections with other MRT and bus rapid transit lines going north-south. Construction would require almost 13 km of space underground with 12 stations, while the remaining section will be elevated with four stations.

The project will also design measures for climate and natural disaster resilience and integrate features for women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities into the design. The design will also include advanced technology such as automated ticketing and a fare collection system with an integrated database for operations management.

The actual Line 5 project is estimated to cost about $2.5 billion and will be considered for subsequent ADB financing.

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