A peek into Uttara north metro rail station
Once you reach the metro rail's Uttara North station, you will see seven staircases on its both sides.
You may take escalators to reach the first floor or concourse. The station is expected to be more inclusive with three elevators for the elderly and those with health complications.
There will be four staircases, four escalators and two elevators to get you to the second floor. At the unpaid zone on the second floor, you will be able to collect a one-time pass if you lack a prepaid card. Punching the card will get you to the paid zone through the automatic fare collection gate.
Once the train gets to a station, a "Platform Screen Door" will open for the passengers.
As the authorities plan to launch the commercial operation of the country's first metro rail partially from December this year, construction and installation of station facilities are also nearing completion.
Works of eight other stations from Uttara to Agargaon -- where the first phase of the operation is expected to be launched in December -- are also going on in full swing, said officials.
Makawadee Sumitmor, ambassador of Thailand in Dhaka, visited the station yesterday to witness the project's progress as the both countries are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations.
Italian-Thai Development Plc of Thailand is the contractor implementing around 70 percent of the civil works of the project, according to officials.
The ambassador told journalists that the purpose of the trip is to let people know that Thailand is contributing and playing a supportive role in Bangladesh's development.
Abdul Baquee Miah, additional project director (Civil) of Mass Rapid Transit Line-6 or MRT Line-6, said they are confident that they can launch the commercial operation partially within December.
The project entails the construction of a 20.10km elevated metro rail from Uttara to Motijheel, at the cost of Tk 21,985 crore.
The authorities are working to expand the line to Kamalapur. In that case, the project's cost is likely to increase as well.
The project witnessed overall progress of 77.82 percent by March, while the Uttara to Agargaon phase saw 91.41 percent progress.
There will be a total of 16 stations from Uttara to Motijheel. The number will increase once the route is extended to Kamalapur.
Visiting the Uttara North station yesterday, this correspondent observed that almost all the staircases were prepared. Two escalators to reach the first floor were also set up but not functional yet. Another one to reach the second floor is functional and was also used by the visitors, including the ambassador. Platform Screen Doors have also been installed but kept undercover.
A project official said all the other stations would have the same facilities. There might be fewer staircases on the ground floor of the other stations, considering the number of passengers.
However, all stations must have four staircases, four escalators and two elevators on the first floor, mentioned the official wishing anonymity.
Although the width of staircases at Uttara North, Central and South stations is expected to be around five to six metres, staircases at Kazipara and Shewrapara stations would be around 2.5 metres due to lack of space, he added.
Replying to a query, additional project director Abdul Baquee Miah said they are acquiring more land to build footpaths at several stations, including Kazipara and Shewrapara.
"Land acquisition is a complex process, but we are hopeful about building a footpath before launching the operations," he said.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam recently criticised Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd -- which is implementing the project -- for not leaving enough space for footpaths at metro rail stations in Mirpur area.
DMTCL has sought more than Tk 11,000 crore for the project, acquiring more land for footpath space being one of the major reasons behind it.
Replying to another query, Baquee said footpath would not an issue as they would manage the station areas on behalf of the city corporation.