News Desk: The country's first metro rail, once launched, will save around Tk 3,500 crore annually in terms of travel time and vehicle operation costs, metro rail authorities said.
The electricity-run trains to be operated on the Uttara-Motijheel route formally known as Mass Rapid Transit Line-6 or MRT Line-6 will reduce the number of other vehicles significantly, and thus cut 2.02 lakh tonnes of carbon emission annually, they said.
Once the action plan for building a broader 130km metro rail network for the capital and adjacent areas is implemented by 2030, it will create jobs for 12,000 engineers.
It would also create a scope to increase jobs threefold by developing forward and backward linkage industries and services.
When the network is developed, 50.4 lakh passengers would be able to use the metro rail daily, they said.
MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL), the implementing agency, revealed the information at a seminar at the capital's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre yesterday.
DMTCL organised the seminar to inform about the progress and possible impact of metro rail, and to receive licence for MRT Line-1.
Siddique also said the physical works of MRT Line-1, which would be the country's first underground metro line, will start by September this year.
The 31.24km line will have two parts around 19.87km from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur with 16.4km underground lines, and around 11.36km elevated lines from Notun Bazar to Purbachal.
The government has taken up a plan to build six metro rail lines by 2030.
The 20.1km MRT Line-6 from Uttara-Motijheel via Agargaon is being implemented at a cost of Tk 22,000 crore. However, the line would be extended up to Kamalapur and the cost would escalate by around Tk 11,000 crore.
Siddique said they will be able to achieve the target to start commercial operation of metro rail from Uttara to Agargaon within December this year.
The overall progress of the project is 80.10 percent while the first phase saw 92.49 percent and second phase saw 79.47 percent progress till May this year.
Once complete, the metro rail with 16 stations will be able to carry 60,000 people an hour, reducing travel time between Uttara and Motijheel to around 38 minutes. It now takes more than two hours to travel the distance.
IMPACT OF MRT
Siddique, citing different sources, said the country loses Tk 33,888 crore annually due to severe traffic congestion and its impacts in the capital.
Citing a study, he said once the MRT Line-6 is operational, it would save Tk 8.38 crore in travel time cost and Tk 1.18 crore in vehicle operational cost daily, meaning Tk 3,489.40 crore would be saved annually.
"The savings will play a positive role in the country's economic development and increase the GDP growth rate," he said.
Two Dhaka city corporation mayors, Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and Atiqul Islam, among others, spoke at the programme, chaired by Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary ABM Amin Ullah Nuri.
At a press conference following the seminar, Siddique said of the Tk 52,561.43 crore cost of MRT Line-1, the government will provide Tk 13,111 crore while Japan Tk 39,450 crore as soft loan. The deadline of the project is December 2026.
The authorities had planned to start physical work in December 2020 but deferred the start date twice with the last one being March 2021.