Spending on metro must be justified
The money spent on an expensive project like metro rail must be justified by ensuring it provides quality and optimum service to the public, said the country director of Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“The money taken from an international lending organisation to implement a scheme like metro rail is a loan and you have to repay it with taxpayers' money,” said ADB Country Director Manmohan Prakash on Wednesday.
“So, you must mind that it is ultimately public money [which is being] spent for the metro rail,” he said, adding that the metro rail scheme must be focused on how efficiently common and poor people at the bottom echelon can be brought into mainstream economic activities.
The rationale of metro rail also depends on appropriate transport planning and timely completion, Prakash said at the presentation of the pre-feasibility final report on the 17km southern metro rail line-5 organised by the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) at a city hotel.
The people, cost and quality must be taken into consideration for an urban public transport facility like a metro rail, as it is meant for the future generation, he said.
The ADB financed the $1 million pre-feasibility study, said DTCA officials.
Khandakar Rakibur Rahman, executive director of DTCA, echoed Prakash's views and said, “The implementing agency of the metro rail scheme should be careful about spending the loan money because this is public money.
“In view of untold public suffering, we also have to be alert about the traffic management plan during construction of a metro rail,” he said.
Md Anisur Rahman, a DTCA traffic engineer and project director of the pre-feasibility study on the 17km southern section of metro rail line-5, said that it took them ten months to complete the study.
This part of the metro rail will have 15 stations stretching from Gabtoli to Dasherkandi, according to the pre-feasibility report.
The metro line will comprise of 12.5km underground route and the rest will be elevated, according to the report.
The construction of the $3.063-billion project will begin in 2022 and be completed by 2030.
The under-implementation metro rail-5, considered to be the backbone of Dhaka city's east-west public transport connectivity, is the third among five recommended in the revised Strategic Transport Plan.
With the physical progress of the country's maiden 20km metro rail line-6 already visible across the capital city, implementation of line-1 is underway with physical construction expected to begin by the middle of this year.
The 20km maiden metro rail costs Tk 22,000cr, of which Tk 16,600cr is a loan from the Japan government.
Pre-feasibility of the 20km northern section of the metro-5 stretching from Hemayetpur of Savar to Bhatara was financed by Jica and done last year, Anisur said. The appointment of a consultant for the detailed design is underway.
Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited, implementing agency of metro rail projects, has to carry out feasibility and detailed design for the southern section of metro-5 before implementation.
In the light of the revised Strategic Transport Plan, metro rail line-5 is one of five recommended for a metro network to cover Dhaka city's master plan area, including the city core and fringe areas.
The study team leader Akio Okutsu, while presenting the report findings, said the route alignment of the southern section of metro rail-5 goes along Mirpur road from Gabtoli, across Darrussalam(Technical), Kalyanpur, Shyamoli, College Gate, Asad Gate,west Panthapath,Karwan Bazar, Hatirjheel, Tejgaon, Niketan, west Aftabnagar, central Aftabnagar, east Aftabnagar and ends in Dasherkandi.
The stations at Dar-Us-Salam (Technical), Kalyanpur, Shyamoli, College Gate, Asad Gate, west Panthapath, Karwan Bazar, Hatirjheel, Tejgaon, Niketan and west Aftabnagar will be underground.
The southern section of the metro rail-5 is estimated to carry six lakh passengers daily by the year 2035, as per the pre-feasibility.
The pre-feasibility suggested a 7.5km section with five more stations of the southern section, including one as interchange between metro lines- 7 and 5 in future up to Borpa along the Dhaka-Sylhet highway.
The metro-5 south will have interchanges with metro-6 at Karwan Bazar station and with the line-1 in Aftabnagar, according to the pre-feasibility final report.
The metro line-5 comprises of two sections of routes -- north and south. The northern one is expected to be completed by 2027 and the southern by 2030.
The 20km northern route is proposed to stretch from Hemayetpur of Savar to Bhatara through Baliarpur, Amin Bazar, Gabtoli, Dar-Us-Salam, Mirpur, Kachukhet, Banani, Gulshan and Natun Bazar with a total of 14 stations, of which nine will be underground and the rest elevated.
The 13.5km Gabtoli-Gulshan section of it will be underground.