Dhaka Metro: The dream project now demands foolproof security

The long-awaited Metro Rail in capital Dhaka is finally going to be opened to traffic by the year-end, bringing with it much hype and also its own share of challenges. The main challenge is ensuring its security.

Authorities now have planned to form a specialised new police unit, “Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Police” or “MRT Police” to ensure security and safety checks at its every station. The proposal for formation of the new police unit is now awaiting the final approval of the Secretaries’ Committee under the Cabinet Division.

“The process of forming the MRT Police will start after getting the approval from the committee,” a senior official at the Police Headquarters told UNB.

According to a Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP), Dhaka Mass Transit Development Company Limited (DMTCL) has planned to construct six metro rail routes in Dhaka by 2030, with a total length of 128.74km.

Construction work on the six metro rail lines is underway aiming to complete it by the timeframe. The six metro rail routes will create a128.74km metro rail network, which will have 104 stations — 53 underground and51 elevated, according to the DMTCL.

The MRT police will ensure the security of the entire metro rails in the future as 5 million passengers will use the metro rail network per day.

During a presentation of Metro rail at Ganobhaban in September 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina underscored the need for the formation of the separate police unit for ensuring the security of the metro rail.

Later, the DMTCL, under the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Bridges Ministry, submitted the proposal to the Police Headquarters in the same month for the formation of the MRT police.

Following the proposal, the Police Headquarters had sent a draft organogram to the Home Ministry’s Public Security Division for forming the new unit. After scrutiny, the division later sent the draft to the Public Administration Ministry, then the Finance Ministry and finally to the Cabinet division.

Contacted, additional DIG (O&M) of Police Headquarters (PHQ), SM Mostak Ahmed told UNB that the draft proposal is now at the Cabinet Division for discussing it at the Secretaries’ Committee for its final approval.

Replying to a question, he said, “Now the draft proposal is at the final stage. Once approved, more time will be needed to complete the formation process of the MRT police unit.”

After the formation of the unit, the MRT police unit will work out a deployment plan after security assessments. “We’ll do everything from our part to ensure the security of the Metro Rail,” Mostak Ahmed said.

He went on saying, “We’re trying to present the draft proposal to the next secretaries’ committee meeting but actually it’s a matter of the ministry concerned.”

One deputy inspector general (DIG) of police will be chief of the proposed force to be primarily formed with 357 members. The number will be increased in phases, the AIG (O&M) said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the construction work on the first metro rail service on June 26, 2016.

The Metro Rail is expected to begin transporting passengers to nine stations between Uttara to Agargaon and its route is to be extended up to Motijheel by 2023.

The train completed its first trial run on August 29 last year, travelling from Diabari depot to the Mirpur 12 transit service. Later, on November 29, it successfully finished its second experimental trip between Uttara and Mirpur-10. Finally, it completed its biggest test trip from Diabariin Uttara to Agargaon — on December 12 last year.

It will have 16 stations that included north Uttara, Pallabi, Mirpur, Kazipara, Sheorapara, Agargaon, Rokeya Sarani, Bijoy Sarani,Farmgate, Karwan Bazar, Shahbagh, Dhaka University, Bangladesh Secretariat and Motijheel.

The 20.10-km long metro rail project is being constructed from Uttara third phase to Kamalapur. The overall progress of the project is 72 percent. However, the progress of the project from Uttara third phase to Agargaon is 69.61 percent.

The total cost of the project has been estimated at Tk 22,000 crore.

Staff Training

The first batch of operation and maintenance staff of Dhaka Metro, including 19 operations and 17 rolling stock officials, received training at the academy of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) at Shastri Park Depot in October.

Mega Projects in Bangladesh

The present government has worked out a plan to implement a number of mega projects in Bangladesh to deliver the economic and social goods for millions of people in every corner of Bangladesh and spur the economic growth.

The country’s mega projects also include Padma Bridge, Dhaka-Sylhet 4 Lane Highway, Dhaka Cox’s Bazar Railway Link, Dhaka Elevated Expressway, Payra Deep Sea Port and Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

Source: United News of Bangladesh