Dhaka circular railway on cards
According to recent media reports Bangladesh Railway (BR) has carried out a feasibility study to build a circular rail network around Dhaka to ease traffic congestion on city's roads. A survey, conducted by a Chinese firm has found the rail route feasible for a length of 81 kilometres in greater Dhaka. After the ongoing metro rail project, the capital and its suburbs will have four new mass transport systems in total - the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), the DCRL (Dhaka Circular Rail Line) and the subway network.
The government proposed establishing the circular rail network to facilitate the daily arrival of Dhaka-bound job holders and traders from neighbouring districts like Gazipur, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, and Tangail. Using the network, commuters will be able to go from one end of the capital. The rail network will have a total of 24 stations, 11 of which will have interchange facilities with the metro rail, bus services, and Sadarghat launch terminal.
The circular rail along the existing inner ring road of the capital and part of Narayanganj district will be 80.89 km long, and will take approximately six years to complete at an estimated cost of USD 8.37 billion.
Undoubtedly, it's a much needed initiative.
The circular rail network will greatly reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka, which causes an annual estimated loss of between Tk 20,000 crore and Tk 55,000 crore. However, it must be noted that the effectiveness of such a project depends on many other factors.
Previously we have seen the circular waterway, using motor-launch trips on the Buriganga and Turag rivers in Dhaka's south-western part. It was introduced on high hopes. Water transport authorities had expected the circular waterway to become popular and satisfy the commuters' annoyance with traffic congestions and discomfort. But due to lack of the rivers' navigability (especially in dry season) passengers began turning away from the water route. The vessels' slow speed was also another reason. The service finally dwindled. We expect that the planned circular rail service will evidently be free of these problems.
Also, given the magnitude of such a project, the government must be watchful that funds are not mismanaged or misappropriated in any way. We are much familiar with grafts and corruption prevalent in every sphere in our society.
The authority concerned should be vigilant while choosing accountable and responsible firms for executing the mega project.
If the circular railway proves out to be a feasible development project, works must start soon.
We hope the new network will help ease movement for the Dhaka-bound commuters.