Muhith to initiate talks with stakeholders on metro rail alignment: Abul
Reported by: UNBconnect
Reported on: Sep 12, 2011 07:56 pm
Reported in: National
Dhaka, Sept 12 (UNB) - Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain on Monday said the Finance Minister will initiate talks with stakeholders to finalise the route alignment of the proposed metro
rail in the city.
“The Finance Minister will have discussions with all stakeholders and then he’ll discuss it with the Prime Minister before finalising the matter,” he told UNB over phone.
Abul Hossain said the route alignment could not yet be finalised as there are some objections in this regard.
The Communications Ministry made a power-point presentation on the metro rail project, known as mass rapid transit (MRT)-6, and its alignment at the cabinet division earlier in the day.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain, PM’s Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman, Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, cabinet secretary M Abdul Aziz and the Air Force chief Air Marshal Shah Mohammad Ziaur Rahman were present during the presentation.
The Bangladesh Air Force put forward an objection about the route alignment fearing disruption in operation of their defence aircraft at Tejgaon Airport.
Sources said the Air Force permits maximum 11-metre high metro route for their safe operation, but the proposed plan says it would be 19 metres high, which could be reduced by 16 metres at best.
The Air Force proposed for an alternative route alignment in front of Khamarbari, but that was rejected due to turning difficulty and the possibility of collision with the landing stage of Elevated
Officials said the Bangladesh Army refused to give around 30 acres of land at Pallabi where the US$1.7 billion metro rail will have its depot or the starting point.
In February, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed interest in financing the city's most expensive mass transport project. Two JICA fact-finding missions have since visited the
country in this regard.
After the agreement signed between a JICA fact-finding mission and the government, the cabinet approved the route of the metro rail in March.
The JICA-funded feasibility study finalised the 21.5-kilometre metro rail route from Pallabi to Sayedabad which will have stops at Pallabi, Chandrima Udyan, Bijoy Sharani, Shahbagh, TSC, Bangla Academy, Curzon Hall, Topkhana and Bangladesh Bank, while additional routes will be introduced in the future.
The state-owned aid agency of Japan intends to fund 80 percent of the project, which will build a metro rail linking Dhaka north with the south. It is considered to be the country's first such mass transport system.
The planned electric railway will carry about 60,000 people an hour at peak times, helping ease traffic congestion in the capital.
The government is expected to issue bids for the project by the end of this year and plans to award the contract in the first quarter of next year. Construction is expected to begin by July next year.
JICA carried out a study on the original alignment of the metro and found it feasible.
Beginning from Uttara Third Phase, the original route was planned to cross Farmgate, Sonargaon Hotel, TSC of Dhaka University, Central Shaheed Minar, Fulbaria, Gulistan and Tikatuli before ending at Sayedabad.
As per the modified alignment, the route from Uttara Third Phase to TSC remains unchanged. From TSC, the route will divert towards Curzon Hall, Jatiya Press Club, Bangladesh Bank, Atish Dipankar Road and Sayedabad.
JICA, however, voiced unhappiness over the alignment modification saying it would take them extra time and money to conduct fresh study on the modified alignment.
The agency then asked the government to bring no further changes in it and determine a timeframe for the completion of other related aspects of the project.
After that the finance ministry sat with the government agencies concerned and a JICA team on February 15 to fix the timeframe. The Communications Ministry later assured JICA of not modifying the alignment further.
Meanwhile, Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain on Monday said the government will begin the work of setting up metro rail in the capital by early next year.
He said this after a meeting with a four-member delegation of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) led by its director Tomohide Ichiguchi.