Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterdaysaid another feather was added to the crown of Bangalee’s pride and Bangladesh’s development with the opening of country’s first-ever metro rail, vowing to build a prosperous “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041 confronting all odds.
“One more feather after the Padma Bridge was added to the journey of Bangladesh’s development with inaugurating the metro rail,” she said.
The prime minister told a civic rally at the Diabari Playground in Uttara after opening the metro rail, setting another milestone in the country’s communication history between a span of six-month after inaugurating the Padma Bridge.
She said her government has brightened the country’s image across the globe by building the Padma Bridge with own finances.
With the opening of the metro rail, the country has entered into the electric, remote controlled and fastest ever communication era, she added.
Prime Minister’s younger sister Sheikh Rehana was present at the inaugural function.
Later, the prime minister and her younger sister took the first official ride of the Metro Rail from Diabari (Uttara North) to Agargaon stations after buying tickets.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina released a commemorative bank note of TK 50 to mark the opening of the metro rail.
After opening of the 11.73km part of the total 21.26km Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6 of the metro rail project from Uttara North (Diabari), the premier said over 5 lakh passengers with 60, 000 per hour can travel everyday by the metro rail after beginning of its complete operation.
The metro rail would help reduce the nagging traffic snarl significantly, she hoped.
Special measures have been taken for the differently abled people including the persons with walking disabilities as they can easily travel by the metro rail, she said, adding a separate compartment has been introduced for the women.
The premier said the freedom fighters can take ride on the metro rail free of cost.
She said her government is working to build six metro rails in Dhaka by 2030, adding that the process is on to conduct feasibility study of two metro rails while work is on to implement four others.
The government has taken measures to develop efficient work force to operate the metro rail shunning the dependency on foreigners, she said.
Employment for around 12000 engineers would be made in the metro rail project, she said.
The prime minister also said huge money has been invested alongside using modern equipment and digital device in the metro rail, urging the passengers to preserve it properly and ensure its cleanliness.
“Take care of the metro rail while using it. Make sure none can throw waste. I am urging all to use it maintaining due rule,” she added.
She also said the opening of the metro rail is an example that people get something or other during Awami League (AL) period.
Recalling the militant attacks on Holy Artisan, killing seven Japanese consultants, she said the attack was launched when the construction work of the metro rail was inaugurated by her.
She prayed for salvation of their departed souls and expressed her gratitude to late Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, saying he always played great role in Bangladesh’s development.
The construction work of the metro rail had started within few days of the Holy Artisan attacks at the directive of Abe, she said.
The prime minister said a monument with the names of them (Japanese killed in Holy Artisan attack) has been built in Diabari.
She said her government is determined to building Smart Bangladesh by 2041 and the metro rail is one of the steps towards the journey.
Mentioning that courageous and appreciated plans are required to do any work, Sheikh Hasina said her government is working with short, mid and long term plans for ensuring overall development of the country.
“Due to the pragmatic steps of my government, Bangladesh has turned around in the last 14 years,” she said.
The prime minister thanked the people to give her scope to run the country after voted AL to power time and again.
She said Bangladesh attained recognition of a developing nation at the period when the country celebrated the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the country’s Independence in 2021.
The premier vowed to build a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041 maintaining the status of a developing nation confronting all hurdles.
‘Bangalee will march ahead at indomitable pace. We will build hunger and poverty free, developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh as envisioned by the Father of the Nation overcoming all odds,” she ended.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and Chief Representative of the JICA in Bangladesh Ichiguchi and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori spoke at the programme.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam and President of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry Rawshan Ara Mannan were present on the dias.
Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary A B M Amin Ullah Nuri gave the address of welcome while Managing Director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) MAN Siddique gave a brief description on the progress of the metro rail.
The theme song of the metro rail was played and a video documentary on the metro rail was screened at the function as well.
Mariam Afiza was the first operator of the metro train as the general people can start riding it from today.
Initially, the metro train will run from 8 am to 12 noon every day from Uttara to Agargaon stations without any break.
State-owned Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) will operate 30 double decker buses to transport passengers from and to metro rail stations.
Of those, 20 buses will be operated on Agargaon-Motijheel route via Farmgate, Karwan Bazar, Shahbagh and Gulistan while 10 buses will run from Uttara’s House Building to Uttara’s North station at Diabari via Abdullahpur.
The government-owned company DMTCL is implementing the metro rail projects.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been constructing the metro rail and providing soft loan for the project.
The construction work of the MRT Line-6 began in 2016.
The second section of metro rail from Agargaon to Motijheel and the third section from Motijheel to Kamalapur railway station will be launched in phases.
The metro rail from Agargaon to Motijheel will be introduced in December next year.
According to the project details, initially some 10-set of train having six coaches will run from Uttara to Agargaon.
The staying time of the train at a station is yet to be decided.
At each station, the train will wait until the boarding and alighting of passengers is completed. Each train can run at a speed of 100 to 110 km with 2,300 passengers. However, the speed will be lower in areas with bends.
After assuming power in 2009, the Awami League government took various initiatives to reduce public sufferings by easing traffic congestion in the capital.
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