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The Financial Express

For a connected Dhaka thru metro rail


For a connected Dhaka thru metro rail

Before the Dhaka people could board the elevated metro rail last December 29, few could ever think that there will be a day when the whole city would be an integrated one. Many would like to call it intra-city connectivity. As they travelled in the Uttara-Agargaon segment of the MRT-6 Line, most of them may have been overwhelmed by the journey. The future benefits of the travel had yet to dawn on them in detail. Now that the jubilant mood is being replaced with an in-depth overview, many serious people might sit down to think over what the metro network actually means to the Dhaka people. With the entire journey from Uttara to Motijheel materialising in a year, an initial picture of the fruits of the metro network may start unfolding. It's not impossible, as the entire metro network is being implemented under a 20-year strategic transport plan (STP). Given the speed with which the Uttara-Agargaon line was completed, the five other metro routes may see completion within the stipulated time.

The emphasis on intra-Dhaka's connectivity crops up due to the city's unplanned horizontal growth. It's now widely admitted that of the South Asian cities, it's Dhaka that most shockingly lacks the urban precondition of connectivity. The city being one of the largest and busiest in the region, it is expected to be interconnected within. Thanks to the ramshackle condition of most of its in-city roads, the terrible traffic gridlocks and the other hindrances to smooth road movement, Dhaka has long been in the need of smooth movement between the city's premier areas.

Travelling by roads became nightmarish in the recent couple of decades. Lots of people lately began dreading vehicular trips from northern Dhaka to areas near Paltan, Motijheel or Gulistan. The traditional travel from Uttara now takes at least three hours to reach Motijheel and the nearby destinations on workdays. After the opening of the total metro route in this segment, the travel time would be 40 minutes on the 21km route. A facile connectivity between the major parts of Dhaka is expected to be in place with the opening of a number of metro routes in different city areas. This is just an optimistic thought, since myriad types of prerequisites have to be met before the grand project of connecting the vital parts of the city starts rolling.

The Dhaka mass rapid transit authorities have on their future work plans the implementation of a widely networked metro infrastructure. Given the massive nature of the work, it might take a long time. But in order to see the city free of the present stagnancy and immobility, the suffering residents in the city's dense areas are expected to lend support to these future phases of the metro rail projects. After the start of full operation of the Uttara-Motijheel line, people in other areas will look to the authorities expectantly. With the speedy journey between the greater city areas and intra-city connectivity being the dream, people repose their hope in the Dhaka mass rapid transit authorities. Dhaka now awaits a grand project of connectivity through the elevated metro rail or subway. In some city parts, the authorities have taken up paper work for underground subways.

Apart from the ongoing MRT Line 6, the authorities are preparing MRT Line-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The Line-1 includes the Airport Route and the Purbachal Route. The MRT Line-5 comprises the northern route and the southern route. The metro rail, subway to be specific, in the future is expected to travel through destinations from Dhaka north to Dhaka south. To say in short, eventually the whole Dhaka is set to see either the elevated or underground rail-travels serving thousands of passengers.

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