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22 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM

Underground metro work to start soon

Mubtasim Fuad, Dhaka
Underground metro work to start soon

The process of designing of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line-1, the country’s first underground subway network, is near-complete and the construction work is likely to begin very soon, sources close to the project said. To ease traffic gridlock of Dhaka, the government took up a plan to build a total of five metro lines—one elevated, one underground and three underground-cum-elevated—in the capital and its adjacent areas by 2030.

Of those five metro lines, the MRT Line-1 starts from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and goes to Kamalapur railway station, with an extension from the Khilkhet point to Purbachal Kanchan Bridge, according to the government-owned entity Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL).

Talking to The Independent, officials of the DMTCL said they have almost completed the detailed design work of the MRT-1 project with the consultants after conducting a feasibility study. They said people would not suffer during the construction work of the underground metro rail line as had been the case with other development projects of the country.

They also said all the constructional work will be under the ground. There will be regular vehicular movement in the upper part of the regular route. Sources in the road transport and bridges ministry said the underground position of Dhaka city and its land are suitable for construction of subway, which is like Osaka (city in Japan). For this reason, the subway will be constructed on the lines of the Osaka subway, which is 20 to 25 metres below the surface.

The modern tunnel-boring machine will be used in the construction of subway tunnels. So, there will be no public sufferings during the work. No environmental degradation will also occur.

According to the project design, the route will be approximately 31km long. This route is divided into two parts: Airport route and Purbachal route, which are expected to be complete by 2026 at a cost of Tk. 50,000 crore.

The 19.87km airport route from the airport to Kamalapur via Badda will be the country’s first ungrounded metro rail, while the length of the elevated Purbachal route will be 11.37km from Notun Bazar and Jamuna Future Park to Purbachal city. This elevated route will be constructed at an estimated cost of Tk. 519 billion. There will be an interchange at Notun Bazar, allowing route shifting to airport or Purbachal or vice-versa.

Sources in the DMTCL said in the first part of the project a 16.4km underground tunnel will be constructed from Dhaka airport to Kamalapur.

The airport part will have 12 underground stations—at airport, terminal-3 of the airport, Khilkhet, Jamuna Future Park, Notun Bazar, Uttar Badda, Badda, Hatirjheel, Rampura, Malibagh, Rajarbagh and Kamalapur.

The Purbachal part will have nine stations—Notun Bazar, Jamuna Future Park, Bashundhara, Police Officers’ Housing Society, Mastul, Purbachal West, Purbachal Centre, Purbachal Sector-7 and Purbachal depot. Of them, seven would be elevated and the remaining two—Notun Bazar and Jamuna Future Park—would be underground as part of the Airport-Kamalapur route.

The Notun Bazar station would serve as an interchange.

Construction of the country’s first underground railway may start in July with funds from Japan. The MRT Line-1 will also link the proposed Terminal-3 of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport so that passengers can travel to most parts of the country using the route. It will carry an estimated 14 lakh people a day. The MRT Line-1 is second among the five MRT lines to be built under the DMTCL. The first project is the first metro rail of the country stretching from Uttara to Motijheel via Mirpur, construction of which is now underway.

Recently, MAN Siddique, managing director of the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd, told the media that a feasibility study had been done and the Planning Commission had approved the Technical Project Plan (TPP). “On the basis of the TPP, we are now preparing the Development Project Proposal (DPP),” he said, adding that a Japanese company-led consortium started working on the design on December 9.

The consortium would prepare plans for land acquisition, compensation and rehabilitation of the people affected, as well as construction of the depot, Siddique said.

“We will prepare the DPP by June and send it to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council. The main work will start after its approval,” he added.

A loan agreement for Tk. 38.95 billion with Japan was signed on May 29 in Japan in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The loan is to be used to construct a section of the line, Siddique said at a press briefing this month.

“The government has plans to set up a strong metro rail operation with six routes by 2030. Along with elevated rails, there will be underground ones,” he added.

According to media reports, in 2017, Japan lent Bangladesh 5,590 million yen (around USD 51 million) for appointing consultants and other preliminary work for the project. This financial assistance of Japan will be more than what it gave in previous fiscal years. The interest rate will be 0.95 per cent and the loan has to be repaid within 30 years.

The Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) is conducting a feasibility study under the supervision of the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA). Last year, two inspection teams from the JICA visited Bangladesh to see the progress of the projects, said an ERD official.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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