Ecnec okays Tk 21,985cr metro rail project

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presides over the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec)meeting.

In a major breakthrough in building the country’s first metro rail system in Dhaka, the government on Tuesday approved a project involving a cost of Tk 21,985 crore.

Under the project, 20.1 kilometer overhead rail track would be constructed on Uttara-Motijheel (Bangladesh Bank) route via Pallabi and Sonargaon Hotel area.

According to the project documents, the project will be implemented in three phases. In the first phase, 11 km of the project from Pallabi to Sonargaon Hotel will be completed by 2019, the 4.4 km second phase from Sonargaon Hotel to Bangladesh Bank will be built by 2020 and the third phase of 4.7 km from Uttara to Pallabi will be implemented by 2022.

The implementation of the project will start this year and will end in fiscal year 2024.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) in a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair okayed the project.

Japanese government will provide 76 percent (Tk 16,595 crore) cost of the project while the remaining 24 percent would come from the Government of Bangladesh.

The metro rail project aims at reducing traffic jam through constructing and operating elevated metro rail line which would be the first of its kind in the capital, a planning ministry statement said.

The project also eyes a massive socioeconomic development through modernisng public transportation system, it added.

Japan will provide $2.1 billion in the project of which the country has approved $133 million for thee current fiscal year.

The project recently gained momentum after a nearly three-year delay over change of route of the metro rail with the government deciding to appoint a consultant to prepare a detailed design of it.

Several international companies short-listed for the job now await approval of Jica. They have been asked to submit their technical and financial proposals for the job of preparing the detailed design and supervising the construction.

Meanwhile, the three-year delay has increased the project cost to $2.7 billion from $1.7 billion.

The metro rail project, the country’s second largest infrastructure project next to the $2.9 billion Padma bridge project, became uncertain last year when the proposed rail route was modified for the second time following objections from the air force. The route running across Bijoy Sarani was diverted towards Khamarbari, which irked Jica.

A change in the route was first made in 2010 to avoid overlapping with the under-construction Gulistan-Jatrabari flyover.

Jica, however, did not desert the project and waited for the government to finalise the route, find a place for a depot and form a company that will eventually operate the metro rail.

Earlier, Jica had conducted a study on metro rail. The study said the metro rail will operate every three minutes and carry 60,000 passengers an hour.

Source:The Daily Star


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