Metro rail sees significant progress

Considerable progress has been made in the construction work on the country’s first-ever metro rail project. According to project officials, the project is running ahead of the schedule and it is expected to be completed ahead of the stipulated time. It is also expected that the metro rail service will be opened for the city commuters in December this year.

City commuters will be able to go their respective destinations smoothly traveling by the metro rail, M A N Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) told Bangladesh Post. The construction of first portion of 12-km metro rail from Uttara to Agargaon will be completed and opened for transportation by December 2019.

The construction of second portion from Agargaon to Motijheel via Farmgatewill be completed and possible to open for all by December 2020, M A N Siddique said. However, he said the whole of Dhaka city will be brought under the metro rail network. He further said four trains and coaches, which are now under construction in Japan will come to the country by November this year. The colour of rail coach will be made alike national flag of Bangladesh — Red and Green, he added.

“Four trains will run from Uttara to Agargaon route. 1,696 passengers can travel each trains. Six coaches will be at every train. Nine stations will be opened from Uttara to Agargaon route,” Siddique also said. Metro Rail Line-6 consists of 16 elevated stations each 180 m long with 20.1 km of electricity-powered light rail tracks, and projected to serve more than 60,000 passengers per hour from both sides with waiting time of approximately 43 seconds.

As part of the government’s plan to free the capital of nagging traffic congestion, five rail routes will be constructed in the city’s different areas in phases by 2030. JICA has agreed to finance the project at 0.01% interest rate payable in a period of 40 years, sources said. Experts said, once the metro rail is implemented, it will be the most time-efficient, reliable, safe, comfortable and environment-friendly solution to the severe traffic congestion. It will also transform Dhaka into a more active, commuter-friendly, and sustainable city.

The implementation agency working behind Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6, Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL) is working restlessly in a bid to unveil the Uttara-Agargaon section of the project. Sources said, the inauguration of the first metro rail of the country was scheduled to take place in 2024, but through special arrangements it is expected to be inaugurated by December 2019.

Of total cost Tk 22000 crore, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will give Tk 16595 crore while the rest of the fund will come from the government exchequer. Earlier, JICA conducted a primary survey and feasibility study on the city’s 20-year-long Revised Strategic Transport (RSTP) project undertaken by the government. In 2012, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the project. A loan agreement between Bangladesh Government and JICA was signed in January 2013.