a year ago

Metro rail likely to open on Dec 16

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The long wait for the country's first-ever metro rail is likely to go on December 16 as its opening may be timed to coincide with the celebration of Victory Day.

The elevated train targets to operate from Uttara to Agargaon with passengers for a few hours.

Sources said Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL) is preparing to open the mass rapid transit (MRT) line-06 on the 51st anniversary of Victory Day.

But, according to them, it is yet undecided on how many hours the commercial  run of the speedy train will be carried out initially after the inauguration.

A source said the modality of the operation is still under discussion.

It is learnt that as the DMTCL is yet to make its manpower ready for running the MRT full-time, the Japanese contractor under the contract packages 07 and 08 will assist them initially.

Sources said it would take a minimum of 700-trained manpower to run the Uttara-Agargaon rail.

"To operate a train, many people are not requited but around 700 people are needed for maintence purpose," said a source.

DMTCL managing director MAN Siddique, however, refused to disclose any date for inauguration and said the commercial run of the first part of the mass transit would begin in December.

As the prime minister is expected to inaugurate the 11.79-kilometre line, the date will be finalised after her Japan visit in November.

However, the project office has been guided to complete the civil work of the first half of the 21-kilometre line by November and other formalities like readying MRT pass and single-entry tickets in early December.

All tickets will be sold from the station counter after the inauguration, according to the sources.

Another source, however, said discussion on the commercial run for a certain time was held under the supervision of the Japanese contractor for lack of adequate manpower.

The DMTCL has so far recruited 274 persons and 330 more under process.

Officials said the new recruits have been under different stages of training for integration.

The DMTCL has done the Tk 334.72-billion MRT-06 project to develop 21.26 km from Uttara to Kamalapur station after revising it from its initial plan in 2014.

It first planned to inaugurate 11.73 km in 2019 and then in 2021, but the December 2022 deadline has been revised being unable to finish the work amid coronavirus.

According to the DMTCL monthly progress report, overall progress of the line was recorded at 83.13 per cent till the end of September.

Some 94.22-per cent civil work from Uttara North to Agargaon has been done during the period in question.

Entry-exit work on six out of nine stations has been done alongside automatic train protection and operation, dynamic testing and signalling PSD interface testing.

Entry/exit of three stations and installation of escalators and lifts at stations are being carried out in full swing. Seventeen out of 24 sets of train from Japan have already arrived at the Uttara depot.

Ten train sets will be required to operate the first half fully. Two more sets are now on the way to Bangladesh from Japan.

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