• Friday, Jul 10, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:51 pm

Metro rail construction to resume

  • Published at 09:25 pm June 3rd, 2020
Metro rail
The under-construction Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, commonly known as metro rail project, in Dhaka Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Dedicated treatment facilities to be set up for foreigners, local staff

The government has instructed the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL) to gear up the construction work of the metro rail project (Uttara-Kamalpur) amid the pandemic. 

Since March, construction work of the metro rail project has remained suspended. There was little progress at the depot with the government decreeing a public holiday across the country.

According to the DMTCL, only 1% progress was reported in the last three months, with total progress currently being at 45%. Plans had been announced earlier regarding the inauguration of the metro rail by December 16, 2021 to mark the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s Victory Day.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, at a virtual meeting yesterday with officials  concerned, issued instructions on an acceleration of the construction work as it was a top priority project of the government.

“Construction work at public places [of the project] was closed off due to the spread of coronavirus in the country but work continued on a limited scale at the depot and over the viaduct,” said Quader.

“Now, the tempo of the work should be accelerated as it is the first tract project of the government. Along with work from home and assignment, field work must be geared up,” he added.

Dedicated treatment facilities for metro rail staff

The government plans to set up dedicated treatment facilities for foreigners working on the metro rail project, as many of them are not prepared yet to do field work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, local officials will also be facilitated at the dedicated Covid-19 treatment centres, if necessary.

DMTCL Managing Director MAN Siddique said: “There’s no reason for foreigners not to resume work as construction work has been going on around the globe.”

“We will ensure health facilities and everyone will work by maintaining the health guidelines,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

 Allocation decreased for metro rail project

The Finance Division has proposed TK4,370crore for the metro rail project (MRT line-6) for the upcoming fiscal year in light of progress having remained halted for months.

The government has allocated Tk7,212 crore for the ongoing fiscal year, which is effectively Tk2,842 crore less for this year.

However, the DMTCL managing director said though allocation would decrease in the metro rail project in the 2020-21 budget, it could still fulfill demand.

“We are still getting our desired allocation as we had demanded,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

Japan manufacturing four set passenger coaches

The Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL) has placed an order with the Japanese metro company for the manufacture of the second, third, fourth, and fifth set of passengers' trains. The first passenger train is ready for shipment.

Obaidul Quader said: “Japan is manufacturing four sets of passenger trains.”

Earlier, MAN Siddique said: “One set of metro trains having six coaches and two engines was ready for shipment on June 15 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic."

The DMTCL authorities have already taken an initiative to extend the project from Motijheel to Kamalapur following directives from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The length of the extended part will constitute an extra 1.16km. 

According to the DMTCL, currently 10.26km out of 11.73km metro rail between Uttara and Agargaon has become visible. Construction of the first phase between Uttara and Agargaon stands at 72% while 40% work has been completed in the second phase (Agargaon to Motijheel) till now. 

The DMTCL authorities said electric lines would be installed along with the metro rail lines. There will be a total of 16 stations, starting from Uttara Diabari, named as Uttara North.

The metro rail is projected to carry 60,000 passengers per hour, travelling the entire route of 20km in less than 40 minutes.

According to project details, under the fifth package, a 3.2km viaduct and three metro stations are being built from Agargaon to Karwan Bazar, while a 4.9km metro rail from Karwan Bazar to Motijheel comprising four stations is under construction under the sixth package.

Package 5 under MRT Line 6 is being implemented by a joint venture of Japan’s Pekken Abenikko and Bangladesh’s Abdul Monem Ltd.

The MRT Line-6 is being constructed in eight phases at a cost of Tk22,000 crore. Of the amount, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing Tk16,600 crore.

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