Bangladesh Railway (BR) is likely to face a major challenge in building a circular rail route around Dhaka city due to 'conflict' with a number of transport projects, sources said.
These projects include construction of ring road, elevated expressway, mass rapid transit lines 1, 2, 5 and 6, bus rapid transit line and eastern bypass.
Initially, some projects have been identified which may go through some points of the proposed corridor of the circular train, according to sources.
The implementing agency of the circular railway line project may face more problems in finding solution as it will have to coordinate with more than four government agencies.
Roads and Highways Department (RHD) is implementing the ring road project while Water Development Board (WDB) the embankment-cum-bypass road project and Bangladesh Bridges Authority (BBA) elevated expressways and part of BRT project.
Dhaka Mass Transit Corporation (DMTC) is responsible for developing all six MRTs in the city.
The authority has planned to construct Dhaka circular railway through Dhour-Gabtoli-Chasara-Demra and eastern bypass from Demra to Abdullapur. But BBA is constructing Ashulia expressway from Abdullapur to Dhour.
BR has planned to set up the 82-kilometre circular railway with 24 stations, 10 interchanges and one depot and one stabling yard. The project cost has been estimated at US$ 8.5 billion.
The proposed stations are Dhour, Uttara, Dhaka Zoo, Dhaka Zoo South, Gabtoli, Mohammadpur, Rayer Bazar, Kamrangir Char, Sadarghat, Postagola, Pagla, Fatulla, Chasara, Chittaranjan, Adamjee, Siddhirganj, Demra, Trimohoni, Berait, Purbachal, Purbachal North, Trimukh, Adbullapur, and Bishwa Ijtema.
The authority plans to set up the depot at Demra and stabling yard at Dhour.
It has appointed China Railway SIYUAN Survey and Design Group Company Ltd along with local firms-BETS Consulting Services Ltd and Engineers and Advisors Ltd-to carry out the feasibility study at a cost of Tk 190 million.
The corridor will be finalised through the study, officials said, adding that it will also put forward a possible solution to conflicts with all other projects.
BR has recently held a coordination meeting with all agencies concerned and tried to deal with the challenges. The officials from Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority, DMTC, RHD, BBA and Public Private Partnership Authority attended the meeting.
The officials said the meeting was called to kick off the feasibility study taking challenges into account.
During the meeting, sources said, the Narayanganj City Corporation requested the Chinese company to keep link with its planned light rapid transit (LRT). DMTC was requested to consider integration with all interchanges of MRT as it was also facing a challenge in confirming detailed design of the corridors of MRTs.
Among six MRTs, MRT-6 is now at an implementation stage. DMTC has confirmed the corridors of MRT-1 and MRT-5 North and South after conducting the feasibility studies.
Sources said BR will also have to ensure less land acquisition while finalising the corridor.
Besides, it will have to connect the circular rail with Padma rail link and high-speed train on Dhaka- Chattogram route.
BR officials, however, said the main objective of the feasibility study is to resolve all these problems with proposing the best possible route for the circular road.
"We are hopeful of getting a well-accepted and convenient route for the city through the study," said a high official who attended the meeting.
He said the project will certainly help establish links with different important locations including Eco Park, Buriganga and Jhilmil project.
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