—To save working hours reducing traffic congestion
–To speed up daily life and give mental peace
Ibrahim Khalil Jewel: Metrorail system will bring great excitement to the economy of Bangladesh. Traffic congestion is holding back the pace of our economy. The faster the roads, the faster the economy. There have been various studies on the economic damage of traffic congestion.
According to a 2018 study by BUET, traffic congestion in Dhaka costs an additional $4.4 billion annually. According to a 2017 World Bank report, 3.8 million working hours are lost every day due to traffic congestion in Dhaka. If we put the money value of these working hours, the amount of damage due to traffic congestion is beyond our imagination.
According to researchers, if Dhaka’s traffic congestion could be reduced by 60 percent, Bangladesh could save $2.6 billion annually. Not only the monetary value, but sitting in traffic jams for hours puts a lot of stress on people’s minds, reducing enthusiasm. Indirectly this labor force also has a negative impact on the economy.
There is no reason to think that Dhaka’s traffic jams will disappear overnight once the metro rail is launched. But it is an effective way to decongest traffic.
If all the planned routes of Metrorail are launched, it will certainly play an important role in decongesting the traffic in Dhaka. And if traffic congestion can be brought down to a tolerable level, it will play a big role in economic progress.
At present, Metrorail is running from Uttara to Agargaon. Initially this route was from Uttara to Motijheel. Later it was extended to Kamalapur.
The more than 22 km stretch from Uttara to Kamalapur was almost blocked for years due to the construction of the metro rail. Many business establishments in the busy areas of Mirpur, Rokeya Sarani, Farmgate, Karwanbazar, Pressclub, Paltan, Motijheel were almost non-functional. In some areas, roads became so narrow that it was impossible to open businesses.
For now, the businessmen of Mirpur, Rokeya Sarani area have survived. They are seeing a new ray of hope around the sinking business. Traders hope to make up for the loss of several years in the way this area is waking up around the metro rail.
Not only the old businessmen, new entrepreneurs are coming to Mirpur area along the metro rail route. Renowned restaurants, shopping malls, showrooms of various brands are newly decorated. The metro rail line is waking up the surrounding area as well.
As soon as the Metrorail is launched, the surroundings are waking up with the touch of its magic wand. Diabari area of Uttara was once a breathing space for city people. Now it is the source land of Metrorail.
International quality shopping malls and residential areas are being developed around Diabari. Metrorail is also giving life to Rajuk’s flat project. House rents in Uttara and Mirpur areas have increased in the meantime. The prices of flats in these areas have also increased.
Business hubs are also being developed around metro rail stations. Various businesses are built around the movement of millions of people everyday, all in all, the Metrorail is completely changing a part of Dhaka.
Mirpur, which almost turned into hell during the construction of the metro rail, is now one of the most beautiful areas. If the entire metro rail is launched, not only Mirpur, but entire Dhaka will change.
Media reports say the Metrorail project will save $2.4 billion per year, equivalent to 1.5 percent of national GDP. Moreover, the Metrorail will ease commuting and speed up daily life for more than 15 million people in Dhaka, creating a major positive impact on the economy. This effect will spread not only in the Metrorail area, but in the whole of Dhaka, in the whole country.
A study by the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development says that in 2004, the average speed of vehicles on Dhaka’s roads was about 21 km/h, but in 2015, it came down to 6 hours. At this speed it sometimes takes 3 to 4 hours to travel from Uttara to Motijheel by bus.
When MRT-6 is fully operational, it will take only 40 minutes to reach Motijheel by metro rail. There has been criticism of metro rail fares. Dhaka metro fares are higher than other metros. More than existing bus fares.
Many are demanding rent reduction. Metro rail fares should be kept under the common man’s reach, even if subsidized if necessary. But it is also true, if you can cover a 4 hour journey in 40 minutes, the fare may not seem high to many. But poor people should be the main consideration in the case of Metro.
There will certainly be a lot of research on the financial feasibility of Metrorail. But now a part of Dhaka is shining bright, may open the door of more possibilities.
For now people around Uttara-Agargaon section are getting direct metro rail facility. However, the wave that is coming to the economy due to the metro rail will hit the whole of Bangladesh. The people of Rangpur, Dinajpur may never see the metro rail, but they will get the benefits of the metro rail at home.
Traffic congestion is the main problem of Dhaka city. We have to adapt to this traffic jam because there is no other way. In fact, Dhaka has half of the roads required for a functioning city. And the way Dhaka has grown unplanned, there is no way to build new roads. So there is no option to go underground or above ground. Metrorail will also go underground in the future. For now, the above-ground metro rail is no longer a dream, but a reality.
Bangladesh’s struggle to become a developing country; No doubt Metrorail will bring great speed to it.
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