• Sunday, May 16, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:05 am

Bangladesh seeks Korean finance for its 1st subway

  • Published at 08:12 pm November 14th, 2020
Subway Collected

•    Bangladesh invites Korea to invest in subway project

•    Total subway length 238km

•    60,000 passengers may commute per hour

The subway system will run alongside the MRT project being implemented by DMTCL

The Bangladesh Bridge Authority plans to build an 11-tunnel subway network in Dhaka to ensure smooth commutes across the city.

The subway system will run alongside the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) being set up by the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL). 

Funding for the subway project is expected to come from the Korean government through public-private partnership (PPP).

On Saturday, the Bridge Authority presented the Tongi-Sadarghat Subway line proposal to Korean investors at the 3rd Bangladesh-Korea Joint PPP Platform Meeting. The PPP Authority of Bangladesh and Korea Infrastructure and Urban Development Corporation (KIND) co-hosted the virtual meeting.

Kim Hyan-mee, minister of South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MoLIT), and Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, attended the meeting.  

Kim Hyan-mee reiterated her government’s commitment to supporting Bangladesh on the path to becoming a developed country.

“We plan to build a subway network in Dhaka and the Tongi-Sadarghat subway line is a part of it. We expect KIND to invest in the project,” said Bridge Division Secretary Mohammed Belayet Hossain.

He also told Dhaka Tribune the subway had been designed so that it would not conflict with the MRT line.

“We have already held a couple of meetings with the DMTCL to remove any confusion over the two networks,” Belayet said.

11 routes in a web

The Bridge Authority is currently conducting a feasibility study regarding 11 routes that would be spread out across Dhaka in a web pattern.

On Saturday, Bridge Authority senior official Abul Hossain said the length of the first subway channel between Tongi and Sadarghat, through Mohakhali and Malibagh, was 28.32km as per plan. The route will include 24 subway stations.

A further 24 subway stations will be set up on a 26.29km route from Tongi to Jhilmil via Gulshan.

A total of 16 stations will be on a 27.62km route from Gabtoli to Purbachal via Mirpur and Kuril. An 18.17km route from Basila to Mohakhali through Kayetpara will have 15 stations. 

A 13km subway route will be constructed from Hazaribagh to Rajarbagh with 12 stations, and a 13.5km route from Kamrangirchar to New Market will have 12 stations. 

Altogether 13 stations are planned on an 18km route from Basila to Malibagh, and the same number of stations will be on a 16.5km route from Gabtoli-Hazaribagh to Shatmasjith Road. A 28.6km from Gabtoli-Badda to Purbachal will have 12 stations. 

A 19.11km long route from Keraniganj-Saidabath to Kanchpur will have 16 stations, and the 30km Jagannath University-Matuail-Narayanganj route, a 30km subway route, will have just 9 stations.


According to the Bridge Authority, a subway system will significantly reduce the pressure of traffic on Dhaka roads. Where 100 buses can carry 10,000 passengers per hour, the subway will be able to transport 60,000 passengers per hour.

Although the potential economic life of a flyover is 50-65 years, the lifespan of a subway is about 100-125 years, officials of the Bridge Authority added. 

Bridge Division Secretary Belayet Hossain said: “Sophisticated tunnel boring machines will be used to dig tunnels in the construction of the subways, so there should be very little suffering during construction.” 

The Bridge Authority had initially decided to build a 90-km subway in Dhaka. The authority received approval from the public purchase committee last year. 

After a successful meeting with DMTCL, the Bridge Authority decided to expand the network. Now the subway is expected to be 238km. 

On March 4, 2020, the cabinet committee on public purchase approved a proposal on the subway project. The committee also approved the appointment of a consultant firm for feasibility study and design.   

According to the Bridge Authority, the Spanish firm Technica will conduct the feasibility study, while the primary design will cost Tk317.94crore.  The feasibility study will be completed by June 2021. 

The subway is to be constructed at a depth of 20-25 meters, as in Osaka, Japan. 

The feasibility study will be followed by design, land acquisition plan and financial analysis. Subsequently, the mega project will be taken to the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges.

Other projects under PPP with Korea:

The Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) has showcased the 1.68km long Meghna Bridge Project, involving the construction of a four-lane bridge over Meghna river on the Bhulta to Aaraihazar to Bancharampur Road, which will serve as an alternative to the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway and Dhaka-Sylhet highway. KIND appreciated the project, and it may move forward under the government-to-government partnership program.

From its end, Korea proposed the Purbachal Town Electricity Network project for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and Korea at the meeting renewed their pledge to work together in swiftly and effectively implementing infrastructure projects through Public Private Partnership (PPP), as Bangladesh continues its journey to becoming a developed country.

The webinar was attended by Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the prime minister, Sultana Afroz, secretary and CEO of PPPA, Kyong-goo Hur, president and CEO of KIND, Lee Jang Keun, ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Bangladesh, Abida Islam, ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the Republic of Korea, senior government officials, private investors, representatives of KIND and PPPA, among others.

Dr Ahmad Kaikaus insisted on launching at least one PPP Project to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He also stressed the importance of widening the lens and encouraging Korean private investors to build partnerships with the government as well as with private Bangladeshi investors.

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