The mass rapid transit-6 or MRT-6 extension from Motijheel to Kamalapur has driven up the metrorail project cost by Tk9,992 crore to Tk33,472 crore, according to the authorities.
The additional amount for the construction of the 1.16km patch will be spent on land acquisition, relocation and infrastructure, according to MRT-6 Project Implementation Committee (PIC) meeting minutes.
Although the initial plan of the metrorail project was to connect Uttara with Motijheel, roughly a 20km stretch, the prime minister later ordered its extension up to Kamalapur.
The original project was approved in 2012 at a cost of Tk21,985 crore. That same year, the amount was revised to Tk23,490 crore owing to cost hikes related to land acquisition and training.
With the new Motijheel-Kamalapur stretch, now the project faces a second revision as the development partner Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will lend Tk19,675 crore for the project.
Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), the implementing agency of MRT-6, proposed the cost hike at the meeting of the project implementation committee on 1 December. The company's Managing Director MAN Siddique presided over the inter-ministerial meeting.
"The project cost escalation is due to extending the metrorail up to Kamalapur. The additional amount will be spent on land acquisition, infrastructure, land acquisition for the depot, consultancy fees, power for running the train, construction of station plaza, passenger elevator and footpath," noted the PIC meeting minutes.
The meeting also decided to verify the costs for different phases of the ongoing construction before formulating the second revised development project proposal.
With the verified costs, the revised proposal will be sent to the Road Transport and Highways Division, and then to the Planning Commission for the final go-ahead.
MAN Siddique said the cost for the initial route Uttara-Motijheel will not increase. Only an extra amount is being added to the project for the Motijheel-Kamalapur extension.
The PIC meeting decided that metrorail passengers will get state-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) buses from each rail station.
Commuters will be able to take BRTC buses from and to the stations.
A memorandum of understanding will also be signed with the BRTC in this regard, said DMTCL officials.
Metrorail to go to Motijheel in Dec 2023
DMTCL officials said seven sets of metrorail coaches have already arrived in the country, and the performance test between Uttara and Agargaon 11.73km stretch was completed successfully on 12 December. Commercial operations on the partial route are likely to be opened by December 2022.
The construction of the concourse roof, platform roof and steel roof structure of nine metrorail stations from Uttara to Agargaon has been completed. Roof sheeting of Uttara north, Uttara south, Pallabi, Mirpur-11, Mirpur-10 and Agargaon stations has been completed.
Overall work on this part of the project logged 89.88% progress as of November this year.
Metrorail commercial operations from Uttara to Motijheel are expected to begin in December 2023. The construction of the 8.11km Agargaon-Motijheel route has registered 72% progress. According to the plan, metrorail commercial operations on the 1.16km Motijheel-Kamalapur extension will begin in December 2025.