The physical work of the country's first underground metro rail is expected to begin in June, as the authorities have almost completed necessary preparatory work for this project.
Feasibility study and all necessary surveys were done. Japan agreed to provide soft loan for the Tk 52,561.43-crore project. Around 65 percent work for drawing detail design was also finished last month, said officials.
Besides, bidding documents for hiring contractors are almost ready. The bidding process is expected to take three to four months, they said.
"We are hopeful of starting the physical work within this June," said MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL), the implementing agency of the project.
Once the rail line, formally known as Mass Rapid Transit Line-1 or MRT-1, is completed, it would be able to carry 8 lakh passengers daily. The rail line is expected to be done in 2026.
The 31.24km MRT Line-1 will have two parts -- around 19.87km from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur with 16.4km underground lines and around 11.36km elevated lines from Notun Bazar to Purbachal.
It would have 19 stations, of which 12 would be underground and seven elevated.
The MRT Line-1 will be second among the six lines to be built in the capital and its adjacent areas to ease traffic congestion and control environmental pollution.
The government has taken up a plan to build the 128.74km metro rail network -- 67.56km elevated and 61.17km underground -- with 104 stations within 2030.
Construction of the country's first ever metro rail line -- MRT-6 -- is now going on to connect Uttara Third Phase with Motijheel with 20.10km elevated rail lines.
The project witnessed 55.19 percent progress till last month. The DMTCL is now working to extend the line up to Kamalapur Railway Station from Motijheel.
UNDERGROUND RAIL LINE
The government signed a loan agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) in June 2017 for appointing a consultant firm for detail design and tender assistance.
The project feasibility was done in December 2018.
In October 2018, the DMTCL appointed NKDOS consortium for preparing detail design and tender documents.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in October last year approved the project to be implemented within September 2019 and December 2026.
Of the Tk 52,561.43 crore costs, the government will provide Tk 13,111 crore and the Jica Tk 39,450 crore.
As per the plan, Airport-Kamalapur route has 12 underground stations -- at the airport, Terminal-3 of the airport, Khilkhet, Jamuna Future Park, Notun Bazar, Uttar Badda, Badda, Hatirjheel East, Rampura, Malibagh, Rajarbagh and Kamalapur.
The Purbachal part will have stations at Notun Bazar, Bashundhara, Police Officers' Housing Society, Mastul, Purbachal West, Purbachal Centre and Purbachal East.
The depot would be established at Pitalganj in Narayangaj's Rupganj. The Notun Bazar station would serve as an interchange.
The DMTCL authorities had a plan to start the physical work in December. But they had to change the plan due to the Covid-19 pandemic, MAN Siddique said.
He said they are now finalising the tender documents before sending it to Japan for approval within this month.
Meanwhile, the authorities have started land acquisition for building depot and depot's access road in Rupganj's Pitalganj and Brahmankhali moujas. A total of 93 acres of land would be acquired for the purpose, according to the project documents.