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Dhaka subway line set for opening at end of the year

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-04-02 09:36
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DHAKA - Bangladesh's metro will begin commercial operations on Dec 16, easing gridlock in capital city Dhaka. Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), a Bangladeshi state-owned enterprise is behind the 20.1-km metro, with work being carried out by Thai and Chinese,Japanese and Thai companies.

Victory day

A joint venture (JV) between China's Sinohydro, a subsidiary of Chinese State-owned Sinohydro Corporation Limited, and Italian-Thai Development (ITD)Public Company Limited, a Thai company, has been building the main depot for MRT Line-6 in Dhaka since 2017 at a cost of about $180 million.

Dai Jun, acting in-charge of Sinohydro under the joint venture, told Xinhua recently that work on the depot is more than 95 percent complete. "We know that DMTCL wants the line to open on Victory Day (Dec 16) this year," he says. "We will hand it over to the DMTCL as soon as possible."

"We're pleased and honored to participate in such a milestone project in Bangladesh," he says. "We want to build a sustainable relationship through our performance and to participate in more projects like this in Bangladesh."

Taming the desert

Dai's Bangladeshi colleague Rabiul Hasan Chowdhury has been deputy safety manager of the ITD-Sinohydro JV since 2018. He spoke of the north of Dhaka before the metro work began.

"This place was like a desert. Together with the Chinese, we've worked day and night to get where we are today," he says. "We have built the depot without any major incidents."

Civil engineer Nazmul Islam has been working on the metro for five years. He is very pleased with the state of construction. "The steel structure, roof and everything you see is made to the highest quality."

Traffic congestion in Dhaka will be greatly reduced when the metro begins operations, he says. "We will be able to travel from one place to another in a very short time. Dhaka residents are excited."

More to come

Bangladesh borrowed funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to finance the metro rail project in stages. The metro will eventually cover large parts of the city. The first train made a trial run in August on a section of the line with 16 elevated stations.

Bangladeshi Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader says trains will begin running on the first phase later this year when two more China-backed infrastructure projects-the Padma Bridge and Karnaphuli River Tunnel-will also be inaugurated.

Once the metro line is running normally, six-car trains will operate a four-minute service carrying 60,000 passengers each hour.

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