Sunday 26, March 2023

PM Hasina inaugurates metro rail today

Time Digital Report: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the first phase of the country's first metro rail service on Wednesday morning.

By introducing the metro rail service, the country is also going to have the first-ever electricity-powered rail system.

The premier is scheduled to travel from Uttara to Agargaon on the train as the first passenger in a reserved coach after opening the service at the Uttara North Station at 2:00pm.

Along with her, there will be 200 invited guests in other compartments of the same train.

Prior to the launch of the novel service, the prime minister is scheduled to join a gathering of citizens at Uttara Sector 15.

The entirely elevated service will be open to the public tomorrow at 8:00am. Initially, the service will run for four hours daily without stopping at any station between Uttara and Agargaon.

People living along the Uttara–Agargaon route will have to follow seven-point special measures today, ordered by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, in order to ensure security for the prime minister on the occasion of the inaugural ceremony.

No one will be allowed to stay at the buildings, flats, hotels, restaurants and commercial spaces and to attach or hang photos or festoons on any building or flat on both sides of the metro rail line while all banks and all ATM booths on the two sides shall remain closed from the morning till the end of the event.

The Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited has been implementing the Mass Rapid Transit Line-6 project, popularly known as metro rail, since 2012.

The entire 21.26-kilometre-long Uttara–Kamalapur metro rail route will be inaugurated in December 2025.

Today, an air-conditioned metro train will run on the 11.73-kilometre-long Uttara–Agargaon route without touching any station on the route, taking around 17 minutes.

Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader at a press conference held at the metro rail’s Agargaon station on Tuesday said that metro trains would run on the Uttara–Motijheel route in 2023 and start operating on the entire route up to Kamalapur by 2024.

Once the MRT Line-6 project is completed, its trains will be able to carry 60,000 passengers from both ends of the route per hour and five lakh passengers on the Uttara-Motijheel route daily, he said.

Twenty-four sets of trains would run under the service with six compartments each while plans are afoot to increase the coach number to eight in future, he continued.

According to Obaidul Quader, the passenger capacity in the four middle compartments is maximum 390 and in the two compartments at the two ends is maximum 378.

‘The passenger capacity in each train is 2,308 and the train will run at the highest speed of 100km per hour,’ he said.

From Uttara, metro trains would take 38 minutes to go to Motijheel and 17 minutes to Agargaon with stoppages and 10 minutes to Agargaon without any stoppage, he mentioned.

The fare for the Uttara–Agargaon distance is Tk 60, he said, adding that the minimum fare is Tk 20 and the per-kilometre fare is Tk 5, based on which the fare for the Uttara–Motijheel distance is Tk 100.

DMTCL managing director MAN Siddique at a press conference said that the metro rail journey for the children under three feet and with their parents is free.

There will be no half-fare facility for the students while the passengers who will use the MRT Pass will get a 10 per cent waiver on each journey, he said.

‘For the Uttara–Agargaon route, one will have to pay Tk 60 while buying a single journey ticket but if someone uses the MRT Pass the ticket price will be Tk 54,’ he continued.

But, he said, the freedom fighters are entitled to use the service for free and differently abled people would get a 15 per cent waiver in their tickets for single journeys.

Replying to a question if there is any plan to reduce the fare, MAN Siddique said, ‘The fare of the Dhaka metro rail is fixed at the lowest rate.’

Comparing with the Kolkata metro, he said that that metro was built long ago.

‘Think, how much time you will need to come from Uttara to Agargaon, this metro will take 10 minutes without any stoppage,’ he further said, adding, ‘Keep the matter of electricity bill also in mind.’

Even with this fare rate, the DMTCL cannot operate with profit and that is why station plazas and TODs (transit-oriented developments) are being established as other sources of income for the service, he remarked.

The road transport ministry also said that considering the present condition everyone would accept the metro rail fare happily as the minimum rickshaw fare is Tk 20.

MAN Siddique said that metro trains would stop at all nine stations on the Uttara–Agargaon route by March 26, 2023.

In order to have registration for MRT Passes, commuters will need to use their NID, passport or birth registration number, the names of their father and mother and their mobile number.

They will have to pay-

Tk 200 as deposit money for the pass and an additional amount up to Tk 10,000 for travelling with these cards.

If someone travels longer distances than paid for she or he will have to pay fine and without the correct ticket no one will be able to leave the station.

Tickets will be available at the stations and the service will stay closed on every Tuesday.

The DMP will be in the charge of maintaining security for the service until a separate ‘metro rail police’ is established.

The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation will engage 50 buses, 40 at Agargaon end and 10 at Uttara end, to ferry metro rail passengers to different destinations from tomorrow.

Today, the prime minister will attend the citizens’ gathering at the playground at Block C-1 under Sector 15 in Uttara at 11:00am.

After that she will unveil the inaugural plaque at 11:05am, deliver speech as chief guest at 12:15pm, unveil a commemorative postage stamp and a commemorative currency note at 1:05pm and will reach the Uttara North rail station at 1:15pm.

She will purchase an MRT Pass using the ticket office machine at 1:35pm, inaugurate the journey of the first metro train by hoisting a national flag at the platform at 1:50pm, get on the reserved coach by cutting a ribbon at 2:00pm, reach the Agargaon station at 2:10pm and return to the Gonabhaban at 2:20pm.

Till November this year, the average progress of the MRT Line-6 project was 84.22 per cent.

The line will have a total of 17 stations. The first station is Uttara North and the others include Uttara Centre, Uttara South, Pallabi, Mirpur-11, Mirpur-10, Kazipara, Shewrapara, Agargaon, Bijoy Sarani, Farmgate, Karwan Bazar, Shahbag, Dhaka University TSC, Bangladesh Secretariat, Motijheel and Kamalapur.

The route for the metro rail was initially the 20.1-km-long Uttara–Motijheel length, which was later extended up to Kamalapur.

The service is one of the fast-track projects of the Bangladesh government, which is jointly financed by the government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The initial cost of the project was Tk 21,985.07 crore while the project duration was from July 2012 to June 2024.

The executive committee of the National Economic Council, at a meeting on July 19, 2022 approved the proposal to increase the cost of the MRT line-6 project by 52.24 per cent and extend the project deadline.

The revised cost now stands at Tk 33,471.99 crore while December 2025 has been set as its new deadline.


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