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PM inaugurates Bangladesh’s first metro rail


Bangladesh‘s capital has its first metro train, part of a Japanese-funded initiative to ease traveling in one of the world’s busiest cities.

“Metro rail is another achievement of Bangladesh,” the premier said, opening the 11.73 km part of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6 of the metro rail project from Diabari to Agargaon by unveiling its plaque at Diabari in the city on 28 December.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the metro rail at the playground of sector-15 (C-1 Block) in the capital’s Uttara at 11:00 am by unveiling a plaque.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated a portion of the 20-kilometer (12.427-mile) urban rail project known as Line 6 Uttara to Agargaon from Uttara sector-15 playground. She will take the first official ride from Diabari of Uttara to Agargaon after buying a ticket. Marking the occasion, she also unveiled a commemorative stamp and a banknote.

The line connects Dhaka’s northern area to a center of government offices and hospitals. It will eventually pass through the city to Motijheel’s financial sector in the south.

The project will significantly alter people’s movement in Dhaka, but its debut will give some much-needed political mileage to Hasina’s govt. The leader and her party are under pressure as the country in South Asia confronts inflation and an energy crisis, its foreign currency reserves are depleting, and elections are anticipated in January 2024.

“It’s an extremely important development for a city like Dhaka,” Martín Rama, a consultant with the World Bank’s presidency and former regional chief economist for South Asia, said in an interview. “If you look at the case of India in many cities, it has changed a lot of the way people go to work. It’s a safe means of transportation, for instance, for women, which in South Asia is not trivial.”

Rama added that it would be “naive to expect that congestion problems will go away” right away because every time a nation expands its public transportation system and increases its capacity, 90–95 percent of the extra space on the roads is occupied by more vehicles.

Every day, Bangladesh’s economy loses 3.2 million working hours to traffic congestion, costing the country’s economy billions of dollars annually. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability Index for 2022, out of 172 cities around the world, Dhaka is the seventh least livable.

“The bigger your city is, the more time you spend typically commuting,” said Rama. “So it’s a congestion cost that detracts from what the city has to offer.”

Japan also funds two other urban railway lines in Dhaka. According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency website, three metro lines would be able to accommodate two million passengers per day once they are all finished.

After six months, Hasina inaugurated the nation’s longest river bridge, extending more than six kilometers over the Padma River.

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