Metro rail may save the valuable time of daily commuters and others on the road in this city of 19.6 million people. But the construction phase of metro rail is making people suffer a lot. Residents of Mirpur, the part of the capital with the largest populace, are mostly bearing the brunt as the construction of the metro rail has primarily been going on there.
Most of residents say that the work could have been carried out in a more organised way. Jannatara Jannat, a resident of Mirpur and student of Holy Cross College, said it took her more than two hours to reach her college from home. “Earlier, it would just take an hour. Now I need to spend more than one more hour on the road,” she added.
Common people say that the digging of the road has also polluted the air in the neighbourhood. “I can hardly breathe or see anything on the road due to the dust. This can lead to accidents any time,” Jannat said.
Many commuters came up with similar complaints. Street vendors, wastes, illegal parking and puddles have made the situation worse. “This is a dream project that we want to be completed very soon. But the construction could have been more organised,” said Khalid Khan, a bank employee.
“Last year, the authorities destroyed a footbridge from Sewrapara area. Students now face problems in crossing the road because the metro rail authorities have blocked several crossings,” said Afsana Jarin, a local student.
When asked, Khan Md Mizanul Islam, deputy project director and public relations officer of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), said: “The suffering will end after completion of the metro rail project.”
He also said the feasibility study of MRT Line-6 had already been done. Its construction is already underway, he added. The government has shortened the project duration period to December 2020, while the original deadline was in 2024. The Agargaon section is expected to be complete by next December and the Agargaon-Motijheel section in the following year.
An official of the DMTCL, the implementing agency of the metro rail project, told The Independent that the line from Uttara to Agargaon was unlikely to start operations by December next as the company concerned completed only a quarter of the physical work until last month. The company started work on the country’s first mass rapid transit (MRT) line between Uttara and Motijheel in July 2012 with financial support from Japan. The DMTCL is working on MRT line-1, MRT line-2, MRT line-4, MRT line-5 and Uttara-Motijheel Metro Rail MRT line-6.
The Italian-Thai, a Thailand-based company, is working as the contractor to build the MRT line from Uttara to Agargaon under the packages CP-03 and CP-04. The contractor under the package CP-05 in August had formally taken over the charge to start the construction work of the 4.92km-long MRT line from Agargaon to Kawran Bazar. According to sources, the contractor has constructed 750 metres of line, out of the total 11.73 km, by inserting viaducts at the Uttara part until December last. It has also completed building 121 piers-shafts, out of 449, and 880 pre-cast viaducts, out of 4,577, in these areas.
Moreover, the progress of civil work of the metro rail depot at Uttara under the package CP-02 is also falling short of the target. Until last year, the contractor completed only 24 per cent of the physical work at the depot, although its work is scheduled to be completed by June this year. So, commuting between Uttara and Agargaon is likely to become hassle-free this year if the work on the metro rail project is completed within the stipulated timeframe.
Officials say the traffic jam crisis will be fully gone from Uttara to Agargaon after 2019 with the inauguration of Lines CP-03 and CP-04. Currently, the road connecting Mirpur, Shewrapara and Taltola is witnessing massive traffic tailbacks every day. The road has turned narrower due to the digging and piling of construction materials on both sides of the roads.