The Prime Minister's emphasis on ensuring security of the whole metro rail project, now under way, could not have been timelier. The would-be travellers of the elevated railway can now look forward to a fast completion of this rail infrastructure. They must be feeling upbeat as the premier said a special police unit would be formed for the transport system. To those engaged in the timely completion of the metro rail project and also the eager commuters, the question of security does weigh in at least at their subconscious level. The Prime Minister's stress on ensuring security for the project is expected to allay the foreboding of many. At a review meeting on the progress of the under-construction Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Project at Ganobhaban, the PM on September 16 watched a power-point presentation on the work progress of the MRT Line 6, as well as that of the Lines 1,2,3,4 and 5. They are being executed by the government-owned Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) in collaboration with JICA.
The presentation was made to apprise the Prime Minister of the progress in implementation of the 'Time Bound Action Plan 2030 for Construction of the MRT Lines in Dhaka City and Its Adjoining Areas'. As has been discussed at the meeting, about 46 per cent of the Uttara-Agargaon segment and 24 per cent of the Agargaon-Motijheel part of the MRT Line-6 have been completed so far. The overall progress of work of the MRT Line-6, however, has been shown at 30 per cent. The DMTCL chief is hopeful of completing the work of Uttara-Motijheel stretch by December 2021.
The elevated metro railway, part of the seemingly grand MRT project, is completely new to Dhaka. The metro rail is one of the most modern urban and time-saving means of commuting as seen in the big cities around the world; its parallel system is the underground subway --- which is also in the pipeline for Dhaka. The whole gamut of the metro rail project, for now, brings the security issue to the fore thanks to its complicated nature. It is natural for passengers to feel jittery about boarding the 20.10 km and 16-station train on MRT Line-6, first ever in the country; lest it runs into uncomfortable situations.
With the perspective fast-moving railway touching every station on the Uttara-Mirpur-Agargaon- Shahbagh-Motijheel stretch every four minutes, it will carry 60,000 passengers an hour. It is a job of gargantuan nature to operate this state-of-the-art transport network. The conventional security personnel cannot be expected always to deal with this task smoothly. In a highly populous city not accustomed to travelling by metro rail, which requires disciplined and patient passengers, ensuring a satisfactory operation of the railway might become a challenge. Although the efficiency of the operators will be a key to the project's success, the special police unit referred to by the PM is set to play a significant role in helping keep the ambience congenial, friendly and secure. Apart from assuring passengers of an atmosphere free of the spectres that haunt present-day travels everywhere in the world, they should also be prompt in intervening in the incidents of women's harassment and thuggish conduct by crime-prone elements. It is good to note that there is a lead time for the preparations of such a special police unit.
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