The implementation of Dhaka Metrorail Line-6 project is progressing fast to reduce traffic congestion and ensure a comfortable communication system in the capital. If the project is implemented, Motijheel can be reached in a short time from Uttara. With the launch of Metrorail, millions of passengers will be able to travel in comfort every day. As a result, the movement of vehicles on the roads will become much less. The first Metrorail viaduct in the country was piloted on August 29. As a precaution, the Metrorail ran from Diabari to Pallabi station from 6am to 10am on August 26. Metrorail Project Manager said that Metrorail ran safely and there was no problem. The runway of the metrorail is surrounded by concrete walls. Due to this, the pedestrians could not see the movement of metro rail. However, many people have seen the movement of this train from the tall building on the side of the road. Electric trains run slowly and various parts of the railway are inspected and monitored.
According to Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), the coordinating body for the implementation of the Metrorail project. The country's first metro rail ran from Diabari in the capital's Uttara to Kamalapur. At present it is being constructed from Diabari in Uttara to Motijheel in front of Bangladesh Bank. It will later be extended to Kamalapur. According to the latest progress report of the project, the overall progress of the construction work of the first metro rail of Bangladesh till present has been 81 per cent. Out of 20.10 km viaduct, erection of 16.566 km viaduct has been completed.
Nine railway stations are being constructed for the metro line between Diabari in Uttara and Agargaon. Preparations have been made to operate trains on railway viaducts in at least five of them. This preparation is going on even in the situation of corona infection, which is positive. According to DMTCL sources, the test run of the train has ended in the depot area of Uttara on a small scale. Now the trial run of the train in the depot area is in its final stages. Preparations are underway to start the trial run of the metro train on the viaduct within this month. Passengers will not be carried during the ongoing test run which is going on now. After December 2022, the commercial journey of Metro Rail with passengers to Uttara-Agargaon may start.
There will be six metro rail routes in and around Dhaka by 2030. Its length will be 128.741 kilometres. There will be 104 railway stations on the way. The roads will be constructed under six projects. Apart from railways, various commercial establishments including shopping malls, hotels and entertainment centers will be set up under the project. The government says the move is to make it easier for passengers to get off the metrorail.
Design work is underway to implement commercial projects around the Metrorail. According to DMTCL sources, the Development Project Table (DPP) will be prepared as soon as the design is completed. Some of these six metro rail routes will be overflown, some will go underground. Some will go through both the flyer and the tunnel along its route. Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) has already started the process of implementing the plans.
According to DMTCL sources, there is a possibility of government funding for the implementation of the project to build commercial facilities on the Metrorail route. Otherwise, funds will be raised from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) or another country or organisation.
The economic highlights of the Metrorail:
2) There will be 16 stations on this 20 km long line.
3) Metrorail will run with 800 passengers every four minutes.
4) About 60 thousand passengers will be transported every hour.
5) It will take about 40 minutes to cover 20 kilometers.
6) The project has cost around Tk 22,000 crore.
7) There will be opportunities to generate more work.
8) Job opportunities will be created for the unemployed.
9) The communication system will be more comfortable.
10) There will be no more traffic congestion in the capital.
Of this, JICA, the Japanese development partner, is lending Tk 16,595 crore. The government is providing the remaining Tk 5,390 crore. Nine test piles of this priority project of the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges have already been completed. A 20-year Strategic Transport Plan (STP) was formulated in 2004 to ease traffic congestion in the capital. The objective of STP was to develop the internal roads of Dhaka metropolis, reduce traffic congestion at the entry and exit points of the metropolis and build a planned public transport system.
In the three years since the approval in 2006, little has been done to implement the STP's recommendations. After the grand alliance, the government came to power in 2009, the project was taken up in phases. Due to the slow implementation of the project, the population and size of Dhaka metropolis and surrounding areas have increased a lot in the last one decade. According to the final roadmap of RSTP, the population will increase by 55 per cent by 2035. During this period, five metrorails, two BRTs and six flyovers will be constructed in and around the capital. These metrorails and BRTs will be able to meet 64 per cent of the vehicle demands.
In such a situation, I think the various initiatives and progress in the communication system adopted by the present government are a milestone in the overall economic development of the country. We expect that the Metrorail will play a positive role to dramatically improve the country's economy.
Md Atikur Rahman, a columnist and former Head of Public Relations at BUFT