As fares will not adequately cover the metro rail's subsidised operational costs, Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) is keen to develop a transit oriented development (TOD) hub and four plazas at the stations.
"Commercial enterprises will be there at every station with a goal to raise 30% of operational costs from non-fare engagements," DMTCL Managing Director MAN Siddique said in a monthly briefing on Tuesday.
Three of the plazas will be built at the Uttara, Agargaon, and Motijheel metro stations. A feasibility study is underway to set up one at Farmgate.
The DMTCL managing director said metro rail fare is being set, taking into consideration issues like construction and operational costs, and passengers' ability to pay.
At the briefing MAN Siddique also said, "The physical works of constructing the MRT line-1 metro rail, from Airport to Kamalapur and Natunbazar to Purbachal routes, will start by July next year. For that, depot areas will be developed after land acquisition."
"The work of study, survey, and basic design for the 31.241 km line have been completed, while the work on detailed design has progressed 77%," he added.
MAN Siddique said some proposals are awaiting approval of Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) regarding the acquisition of lands for the depot, recruitment of consulting firms and tenders for three packages of the project.
He expressed hope that Jica will provide positive feedback on the pending issues and the construction works will commence by July 2022.
MAN Siddique said the construction of the Uttara-Motijheel metro rail line progressed 69.43% by August this year. Work on the priority area of the Uttara-Agargaon portion, which is scheduled to be operational by December next year, has progressed 88.58%.
He said the work on that portion is progressing satisfactorily to commence commercial operations next year and it will be possible if the Covid-19 situation remains under control.
"The cost of the MRT line-6 project would not increase for the existing packages but it would increase for an additional 1.16 km line from Motijheel to Kamalapur," he added.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the MRT line-1 project involving Tk52,562 crore in October 2019 to establish a 19.89km underground metro rail from the airport to Kamalapur, and an 11.37km elevated metro rail from Natunbazar to Purbachal.
The project's physical works are to start about three years after the Ecnec's approval due to a delay in groundwork and studies, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first underground metro rail line is scheduled to be completed by 2026 and it would be the second metro rail line in Dhaka following the MRT line-6 metro rail from Uttara to Motijheel.