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Hasina launches Metro work in Dhaka

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Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated construction work for the country’s first Metro rail service in Dhaka.

BANGLADESH-DHAKA-PM-PRESS CONFERENCEThe first 11 km of the $2.5 billion project, which is expected to transport 60,000 passengers an hour, would be completed by 2019 and 4.4 km by 2020, Xinhua news agency reported.

An official earlier said the overhead construction of Metro line can help the Bangladeshi government’s efforts to ease traffic gridlock in Dhaka which has only 436 km of four-lane and 1,408 km of two-lane roads.

Dhaka has been experiencing severe traffic jams, creating untold suffering for commuters.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has approved $150 million in additional financing to help strengthen Bangladesh’s health systems and improve its services.

The financing will support implementation of the government’s health sector-wide programme, Xinhua news agency cited the World Bank as saying in a statement on Sunday.

The support will help the government address health sector challenges, including sustaining and improving immunisation coverage, further improving deliveries for pregnant women at public health facilities and tackling multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

It will also help Bangladesh improve public financial management to get more value from its public spending on health.

The programme and its predecessors have contributed to a 40 per cent reduction in maternal mortality since 2010, the World Bank said.

Bangladesh has reduced under-five child mortality by 29 per cent between 2007 and 2014, and during the same period, births attended by medically trained professionals increased from 21 per cent to 42 per cent, it said.

With this financing, the World Bank’s support to the project now stands at $508.9 million.