Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated the construction works of the first metro rail service in Dhaka.
She unveiled the construction work from Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka around 10:30am on Sunday.
The PM also inaugurated the work to build a depot in Gazipur for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
Hasina said: “The metro rail is being constructed to ease the general people's traffic hassle and to modernise the transportation system."
“With the construction of the metro rail, around 60,000 people will be able to travel from Uttara to Motijheel in just 38 minutes.”
In the first phase, metro rail will be opened for the passengers travelling from Uttara to Agargaon in 2019 while the rest [Uttara to Motijheel] will be opened in 2020.
The prime minister also suggested to extend the work of the first phase from Uttara to Farmgate as it would benefit the public more.
Metro Rail is the third biggest government infrastructure project underway, after the Padma Bridge and Padma rail track project. The elevated railway promises to relieve the city’s growing traffic problems.
The MRT project will be constructed under the supervision of Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Company. The project is being funded by both the government and Japan International Cooperative Agency (Jica) – Jica is contributing Tk16,594.59 crore to the project, while the government is paying Tk5,390.48 crore.
When complete and in operation, the MRT stations will see a train come every 3.5 minutes, and it will take 37 minutes for a train to cover the distance between Motijheel and Uttara.
The BRT project is a dedicated bus lane which will be constructed between Dhaka and Gazipur on the existing six-lane highway.
Once complete, 100 articulated buses will run on the BRT route. Passengers will be required to use a smart card to use the service.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Tk2,040 crore, Tk1,650 crore of which will provided by the Asian Development Bank, French Development Agency, and Global Environmental Facility Fund. The rest will be provided by the government.