Total 12 of the 13-member Chinese team went back home early this year and are currently stuck in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the pandemic
Progress of the feasibility study of the circular railway project surrounding Dhaka is now on a standstill due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak worldwide.
This project is being implemented by Bangladesh Railway (BR) with Hubei based Chinese firm China Railway SIYUN Survey and Design Group Ltd as the consultancy partners.
Total 12 of the 13-member Chinese team went back home early this year and are currently stuck in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the pandemic.
Monirul Islam Firozi, director of the Tk293 million project, told Dhaka Tribune that around 70% progress was achieved before the members of the consultancy team went to China.
"However, as they are still stuck there [China], the project is now at a standstill," he said.
"All the members of the Chinese team are residents of Wuhan but none of them are infected by the virus. But they are in self-isolation following government directives," he added.
According to details of the project plan, the 81.9km circular train network will have elevated viaducts and double line standard gauge.
The circular route will have 20 stations: Tongi, Termuk, Purbachal road, Beraid, Kayetpara, Demra, Siddhirganj, Chowdhuri Bari, Chasara, Fatullah, Shyampur, Sadarghat, Babubazar, Nawabgonj, Shankar, Gabtoli, Dhaka Zoo, Birulia, Uttara and Dhour.
Firozi said: "Once implemented, this project will help reduce Dhaka's traffic congestion."
In September 2018, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase (CCPP) approved the Railway Ministry’s proposal for the "Construction of Circular Railway Line around Dhaka City" project under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Dhaka's traffic is one of the worst in the world. Cities of developed countries have faced similar issues with traffic in the past and most of them including Tokyo, Sydney, Yangon, Mumbai, and Karachi resorted to the circular train systems to ease traffic congestion.