Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday (Feb 2) inaugurated the construction work of the country's first-ever underground metro rail within a month after opening the metro rail from Uttara's Diabari to Agargaon. The PM unveiled the inaugural plaque of the construction work of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-1 at sector 4 at Purbachal of Pitalganj in Rupganj of Narayanganj district while addressing a civic rally. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Textile and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi (Birpratik), Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh IWAMA Kiminori, Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary A B M Amin Ullah Nuri and Managing Director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) MAN Siddique accompanied the premier, local media reported.
Sheikh Hasina earlier on Dec 28 last opened the 11.73 km part of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6 of the metro rail project from Diabari to Agargaon by unveiling its plaque at Diabari in the city.
The government will construct the MRT Line-1 having both underground and elevated facilities from Airport to Kamalapur and Purbachal to Natun Bazar by 2026.
A total of six metro rail routes will be inaugurated in the capital city Dhaka by 2030.
According to the project details, the MRT Line-1 will have two parts – a 19.872 km part from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur (Airport route) which will be underground with 12 stations and an around 11.37km elevated line from Natun Bazar to Purbachal (Purbachal route) having seven stations, while Natun Bazar and Nadda stations will be underground as part of the airport route.
Bangladesh government and the development partner agency Japan International Cooperation (JICA) will bear expenses for construction work of the MRT Line-1.
Japanese firm-led consortium will oversee the construction of the Airport-Kamalapur-Purbachal metro line.
According to the project details, the MRT Line-1 will take 24 minutes and 30 seconds to travel from Airport to Kamalapur, with breaks at 12 underground stations and 20 minutes and 35 seconds to travel from Natun Bazar to Purbachal with breaks at seven stations.
Passengers will be able to reach Purbachal from Kamalapur with an interchange in Natun Bazar station within only 40 minutes with breaks at 16 stations.
After the launch of MRT Line 1, eight lakh passengers will be able to travel through the route every day.
The DMTCL managing director said the Natun Bazar station will also have an inter-change facility with MRT Line-5 (Northern Route) from where passengers will have scope for going to Airport route from Purbachal or Purbachal route to Airport using the inter-change.
Earlier, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the MRT line-1 project in 2019.
A communication expert said with the inauguration of the first-ever underground metro rail construction work, Bangladesh is going to enter the most expected underground transport system.
He said only Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can do it because she has already proved her government's ability to execute mega projects through successfully implementing Padma Multipurpose Bridge and Bangabandhu Tunnel.