MRT-1 at a glance
- DMTCL blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for the delay
- 73% detail design and 77% land acquisition completed
- A tender already floated for work on the first package
- The deadline for submitting bids is 8 September 2021
- Physical work expected to begin 6 months from deadline
- Project set to be completed by 31 December 2026
Physical work on Bangladesh's first underground metro rail – formally known as Mass Rapid Transit Line-1, or MRT-1 – is expected to begin in March next year.
Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd's (DMTCL) Managing Director MAN Siddique on Thursday said they have completed 73% of the detail design and 77% land acquisition for MRT Line-1.
He said a tender has already been floated for the first package to build a depot for the line.
"The deadline for submitting bids is 8 September and we hope to start work within six months from that deadline. We would like to start the rest of the tender process soon," Siddique said at an online press briefing.
"We are confident about completing the project by 31 December 2026," he added.
MRT Line-1 Project Director Md Saidul Hoque said, "The underground route of this project will follow the existing roads and highways – that way it will be easy to work without interrupting the movement of traffic. The underground rail line will be built 10 metres below the surface."
At the press brief, DMTCL officials blamed the ongoing pandemic for the delay in project work. Foreign consultants working under the project had left Bangladesh due to the Covid-19 outbreak, which interrupted the project's progress, they said, adding that they had wanted to start the work this month.
Once the rail line is completed, it would be able to carry 8 lakh passengers daily.
Project Director Md Saidul Hoque said, "The project will be built under 12 packages, and we have already acquired almost 300 bighas of land for a depot. Fifteen companies from home and abroad are interested in building it. They are mostly Japanese, Chinese and Indian, with two from Bangladesh as well."
The 31.24km MRT Line-1 will have two parts – around 19.87km from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur with 16.4km underground lines and around 11.37km elevated lines from Natun Bazar to Purbachal.
The line will have 21 stations – 12 underground and nine elevated. Besides, 25 trains will operate daily on the line. It will take only 24 minutes and 30 seconds to go from Dhaka airport to Kamalapur, 20 minutes and 35 seconds from Natun Bazar to Purbachal, and 40 minutes from Kamalapur to Purbachal.
A passenger will be able to catch a train every 2 and a half minutes on the Dhaka airport-Kamalapur route, while the wait time between trains on the Natun Bazar-Purbachal route will be 4 minutes and 35 seconds.
Trains will operate at 90km-per-hour on the Dhaka airport-Kamalapur underground route, and 100km-per-hour on the Natun Bazar-Purbachal elevated route. Each train will have eight coaches and will be able to carry 3,088 passengers.
Feasibility study and all necessary surveys have already been completed. Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) has agreed to provide a soft loan of Tk3,895 crore of the total TK52,561.43 crore cost.
Of this total, the government will provide Tk13,111 crore. The project secured approval in October 2019.
Metro Rail to run on Agargaon-Diabari route from June 2022
The country's first metro rail service is expected to operate on the Uttara Diabari-Agargaon route (MRT Line-6) from June next year.
On the matter, DMTCL Managing Director MAN Siddique said, "We are hopeful about starting commercial operation of the MRT Line 6 by June next year in the first phase – from Uttara to Agargaon. A viaduct test run on the route will be held in August this year.
"We have done almost 86% of the Uttara Diabari-Agargaon part and 63% of the Agargaon-Motijheel part of this project, which is visible. Apart from that we have completed 56% of the electronic and electrical part of this project."
A 20.1km metro rail line will be built from Diabari to Motijheel by 2024 as part of the project. Later, as per a directive from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the project will be extended to Kamalapur. The length of the extended part will constitute an extra 1.16km.
In this regard, Siddique said the detailed design work of this extension will be finished within three months. The physical work of this part will start this year, and from then, it will take two years to complete.
"For this extension part, we have no plans to add an extra train so far, but we will add more coaches," Siddique added.
Addressing the recent water-logging issue in Mirpur, he said, "We must not be held fully responsible for this issue, but we might be partially responsible. The DMTCL can work together with the Dhaka North City Corporation and Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to solve this problem."
To build an effective transportation system in Dhaka which will help reduce traffic congestion, the MRT Line-6 was approved in 2012 at an estimated cost of Tk22,000 crore – with Japanese assistance under the Strategic Transport Plan.