Metro rail project to get underway

October 9, 2012

Ministry expects no further delay, hopes to finish by 2019
The metro rail project has finally gathered momentum after nearly three-year delay over change of route with the government deciding to appoint a consultant to prepare a detailed design of the metro rail from Uttara third phase to Motijheel.
Several international companies that have been short-listed for the job now await the approval of Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), the lone donor of the $2.7 billion project. Jica pledged 80 percent of the project cost.
Officials at Jica and the communications ministry said the short-listed companies would soon be asked to submit their technical and financial proposals for the job of preparing the detailed design and supervising the construction.
They said a firm would be selected for the job in two or three months.
Meanwhile, the communications ministry has set a new target for starting the construction work in 2016 and complete it by December 2019. According to the previous plan, the construction work was supposed to begin in 2013 and end in three years.
The delay has increased the project cost from $1.7 billion to $2.7 billion.
The government is now ready to start loan negotiation with Jica in December as both sides are very sincere about moving fast with the 20.1 kilometre metro rail project.
The problem over the installation of a depot for the project is about to end with the selection of 22 hectares of private land near Uttara third phase. Officials said the acquisition of land for the depot would begin soon.
The metro rail project, the second largest after the $2.9 billion Padma bridge project, became uncertain last year when the metro route was modified the second time following Air Force’s objection. The route running across Bijoy Sarani was diverted towards Khamarbari and the change in route 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 the depot and form a company that will eventually operate the metro rail.
Earlier, Jica conducted a study on metro rail, and according to the study, the metro rail will operate every three minutes and carry 60,000 passengers an hour.
Acting Communications Secretary MAN Siddique said there would be no further delay in the project.
“All the necessary things for the project such as appointment of design consultant, acquisition of land for the depot, setting up of a company are on track.”
Jica officials in Dhaka refused to comment on the project before the loan negotiation is done between the government and Jica.
Experts said it would take at least two years to prepare the detailed design and another three to five years to finish the project.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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