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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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Bus Rapid Transit gets go-ahead

Tk 2,040cr project on Airport-Gazipur route to be completed by 2016

The government is going to introduce a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line by the year 2016 to ease traffic congestion on the 20-kilometre Gazipur-Airport road.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved the Tk 2,040-crore Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Transport project.

A statement of the planning ministry said the initiative would create a new public transportation system in Gazipur-Tongi-Uttara region making the route safe, environment friendly and free of traffic congestion.

The 4-year project also includes construction of 31 bus stops, a BRT depot, seven flyovers and the Tongi Bridge. Besides, 50 buses would be procured under the project which would operate on the route.

The project, alongside the works of Metro Rail, was supposed to start by this time as per the Strategic Transport Plans (STP), which designed for 20 years had been approved in 2008. The plans were to be implemented in four phases.

However, experts say the bus service would serve almost 92 percent commuters of the city, except for those having cars.

Yesterday's Ecnec meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair approved eight projects involving Tk 3,020 crore.

Under the BRT project, three development agencies, including the Asian Development Bank, will provide a loan of Tk 1,651 crore.

The project proposal said, a loan negotiation has been completed and an agreement would be signed after the Ecnec approved the project.

According to the project proposal submitted in 2005 under the STP, a study had been conducted with assistance from the World Bank. In the study, six corridors had been identified in Dhaka to ease the traffic congestion in the capital.

The study recommended establishing mass rapid transit or metro rail in three corridors and BRT in the other three.

A planning ministry official said a proposal for setting up the metro rail at a cost of around Tk 21,000 crore would soon be placed in an Ecnec meeting. Japan will finance about 75 percent of the project cost.

The Ecnec meeting yesterday rejected a proposal for constructing a link road from Mirpur Darussalam to Kochukhet at a cost of Tk 485 crore. According to the proposal, Tk 80 crore was assigned to construct the road while the rest of the money for compensating for the structures to be removed from the site.

The PM had objected to the proposal saying it needed further scrutiny, said the official.

The Ecnec yesterday approved another project, under which Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University would be modernised and its existing facilities would be expanded to convert the country's lone medical university into a centre of excellence. The project will cost Tk 526 crore.

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