The metro rail authorities have made good progress in the preparation of another metro rail to be developed from Gabtoli to Dasherkandi in Dhaka city by 2030.
Officials said the time frame for the MRT line-05 South has been finalised with a target to complete a detailed design by March 2023 and bidding in 2024.
They said 75-per cent work of the detailed design has already been completed and a target has been set to complete the bidding by March 2024.
"MRT-05 South has been progressing in parallel with MRT-05 North. We are not behind a single day," said project director Abdul Wahab.
According to the preparatory plan, the MRT-05 South corridor will be built under a total of nine contract packages (CPs).
The first two CPs are to develop depot land and depot infrastructure on the Boropa site of Dasherkandhi.
Civil work on underground and elevated MRT-05 South will be done under CPs 03, 04 and 05.
On the other hand, CPs 06, 07, 08 and 09 are for mechanical and electrical equipment and rolling stock.
Mr Wahab said the pre-qualification bidding for depot land will begin next June and the rolling stock in a year after the land development work.
Recruitment for the MRT-05 South line has been planned to start in 2026.
The Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) initiates MRT-05 South as part of its plan to develop six MRTs on different corridors by 2030.
Of the lines, MRT-06, 01 and 05 North are being implemented with financial and technical support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
On the other hand, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is bankrolling MRT-05 South.
The pre-feasibility study of MRT-05 done in 2017 under the revised strategic transport plan showed 924,000 passengers will be transported daily in the MRT of east-west direction.
The MRT is expected to reduce working hours and 4,122 tonnes of fuel valued at Tk 214 million.
During the feasibility study, the route was divided into two lines named as MRT-05 North and MRT-05 South.
However, sources said the project has still challenges in finding free open space at different locations in the congested city.
Space constraints aside, they said, conflicts may also arise over land acquisition as it will be crossing influential areas.
Asked about completion of utility shifting and land acquisition, Mr Wahab, however, said utility shifting work will be done during depot land development work.
But he said as underground part of the metro will go 30 metres below the surface, no such work would be needed as well as public sufferings over construction would be less.
However, sources said depot land for both projects has been selected in low-lying area for lack of adequate open land in and around the city.
Some 42 hectares of land in Boropa under Narayanganj district has been proposed for the depot site.