The subway project in Dhaka is ambitious and inexperienced: IPD

Experts on urban development planning and transportation planning have commented that the subway project is costly, ambitious and ineffective in terms of socio-economic planning of Dhaka city.

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This was stated by experts on urban development planning and transportation planning at an urban dialogue organized by the Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) online at 11 am on Friday.

Experts said that although various initiatives of transport planning and urban planning and various road and infrastructural projects have been taken in the past few days to solve one of the problems of Dhaka metropolis, its benefits are not visible. Dhaka Strategic Plan was formulated in 2005 with the aim of building sustainable communication system in Dhaka in the light of which Metro Rail, Expressway, BRT projects are being implemented in Dhaka city.

Subsequently, the revised Dhaka Strategic Plan was prepared in 2016 by revising this plan in the light of which the government is taking other initiatives including construction of new route of Metrorail. The government is keen to take the initiative of ‘Dhaka Underground (Subway) Project’ to solve traffic congestion in Dhaka outside the proposal of Strategic Transport Plan (STP), Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP) in the light of which feasibility study is underway.

They said that the ‘Dhaka Subway (Subway) Project’ is very useful in the context of sustainable transport planning in the city and overall economic-social-physical-planning-environmental impact analysis of the project is very important in transportation planning and urban planning. Completely ignored. The feasibility study report is basically a technical report and although some economic data is presented here, these economic data could not present a true picture of the project’s revenue-expenditure-benefit due to the absence of overall impact factors of the project. The planned impact analysis of this project and how it will be coordinated with other plans of Dhaka city as a whole are missing.

Speakers said that such a discussion did not include the possible public health impact of such a project in an environmentally fragile Dhaka city due to air-dust-noise pollution. Other solutions that can be considered as an alternative to the subway to ensure quick and easy communication and transportation with other areas of the Dhaka area of ​​influence and their feasibility, acceptability and usefulness in the absence of any data-analysis of their revenue-expenditure-benefits. Lost. There is ample reason to question the process and purpose of the meetings that have been held in this feasibility study. The basic distance of the subway plan with the existing transport plan and other documents of the town plan as a whole and the lack of proper and detailed discussions with the planning and other city authorities have been observed.

The speakers further said that overall, Dhaka city is not ready to come up with a cost-effective, risky and ambitious proposal like the subway project. Instead, it is necessary to take initiative to implement the recommendations of Strategic Transport Plan (STP), Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP), Dhaka Detailed Area Plan (DAP) to develop sustainable transport plan including resolving traffic congestion problem in Dhaka.

In a keynote address at the Urban Dialogue organized by the Institute for Planning and Development (IPD), Dr. Adil Muhammad Khan, Executive Director of the Institute on behalf of IPD and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Jahangirnagar University, said that the . The economic and planning detailed analysis and stakeholder discussion of that proposal was not done that way. Going beyond this, the project that the government is going to undertake to build a wide subway network as part of the communication plan with the central area and regional areas of Dhaka city is inexperienced in economic and planning analysis of Bangladesh including Dhaka.

He further said that although our urban and regional areas have sufficient population to sustain the public transport system like subway, this project is not realistic for our city of Dhaka due to its high per capita income and high economic cost and management cost.

Analyzing the urban plans of different countries of the world, it is seen that if subways are built in a limited number of cities of high income countries, then construction of subways is a very expensive project. As a result, even the richest countries in the world are not planning to take up ambitious projects like building subways across a wide network of cities. While Bangladesh is on its way to becoming a middle-income country, our per capita income is still very low compared to developed countries. While the per capita income of Bangladesh is about 2 thousand dollars, there is 70 thousand (35 times) of USA, Singapore 75 thousand (33 times), Germany 50 thousand (25 times), England 45 thousand (23 times), Japan 40 thousand dollars (Bangladesh 20). Multiplication). As a result, we do not have the economic strength to build subways.

Professor Adil Muhammad Khan added that the construction of one kilometer of subway line usually costs at least মিল 300 million. However, in recent times, the cost of construction of subways is higher in countries and administrative regions like Singapore and Hong Kong. The construction of Singapore’s downtown MRT line (entirely underground) cost ৩ 493 million per kilometer. Hong Kong’s Sha Tin Central Link cost ৮৬ 57 million per kilometer. The initial cost of the Dhaka subway was estimated at ৭ 265 million per kilometer.

According to the IPD, the construction of the subway is extremely costly in global terms and the estimated cost at the beginning of the project may increase significantly during implementation. As a result, many countries and cities are moving away from such expensive projects. In the past experience of Bangladesh, we know that our estimated cost of construction of subway will increase several times during implementation. As a result, the kind of economic benefits presented in the project concept and feasibility study report will not be realized in the future.

Mohammad Ariful Islam, director of the Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) and chief executive officer of Sheltech Consultants Limited, said that a high-cost project like the subway would not be able to bring about the desired change in our urban management. Instead, he urged to reduce the pressure on Dhaka by building planned townships around Dhaka along with the overall development of the country. At the same time, he suggested making regional connectivity with Dhaka sustainable and effective by building quality bus services.

Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) General Secretary Planner Sheikh Muhammad Mehedi Ahsan said the project, which is too expensive compared to the country’s development budget, could be a burden for the country. He raised the question of how a huge amount was spent on feasibility study of the project even though there were no subway proposals in the main documents of Dhaka’s transport plan and city plan.

Transport expert and former executive director of the Dhaka Transport Coordinating Authority (DTCA), said. SM Salehuddin said that the subway project does not suit the people, economy, socio-culture of our city and at the same time its overall cost is very high. Without wasting Tk 320 crore for feasibility study of the subway project, it would have been effective to solve thousands of quality buses in Dhaka city with this money. Besides, it is important to implement bus route rationalization initiative in the whole city of Dhaka.

Adviser of the Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Jahangirnagar University. Akhtar Mahmood said that it is very important to show professionalism and honesty in the feasibility report of a very important project like subway project. But the feasibility study report of many projects in our country is prepared with the aim of approving the project. Many foreign consultants involved in the subway project lack a clear idea of ​​the planning and development realities of Bangladesh and the Dhaka metropolis. Instead of investing in subway projects or similarly costly infrastructure projects, spending on the development of the country’s district cities will reduce the pressure on Dhaka’s communications.

Capital Development Authority (RAJUK) Detailed Area Planning (DAP) Project Director and Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) Director Planner. Ashraful Islam said that if the central part of Dhaka is suitable for construction of subway and geological features of other areas around Dhaka are not suitable for subway construction. As a result, the cost of building a subway network around Dhaka will be much higher. It is possible to build a sustainable transport system in Dhaka through effective implementation of initiatives such as ring road, radial road, circular railway, etc. proposed in the Dhaka Transport Plan and Detailed Area Plan.

Bangladesh Environmental Movement (BAPA) Joint Secretary. Maruf Hossain said such projects would be a burden in the future not only for Dhaka city but for the whole of Bangladesh. Besides, if the various agencies in charge of transport planning in Dhaka could not be coordinated and if a specific agency could not be given its guardianship, such uncoordinated initiatives and waste of people’s tax money would continue.

Communications expert and urban planner, Narayanganj City Corporation and Bangladesh Institute of Transport Professionals (BITP) General Secretary. Moinul Islam said that with the development of Transit Oriented Development (TOD), commuter rail, it is possible to reduce the pressure on Dhaka in a planned way. Besides, it is possible to create sustainable road connectivity in Dhaka through multimodal integration of road-rail-waterways.

Jahangirnagar University, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning. Farhadur Reza said the feasibility study report of the subway project lacked proper discussion on environmental impact. The overall utility of this project can be ascertained by analyzing the impact of such construction on the environment and public health of Dhaka.

The Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) for sustainable solutions to traffic problems in Dhaka also said that before adopting the subway project, other communication and transportation planning solutions such as commuter train, light rail transit (LRT), BRT, standard bus service etc. Cost-saving initiatives need to be seriously considered, which are cost-effective and easy to implement in our socio-economic-planning considerations. The IPD advises on the importance of seeking the views of the general public through public hearings before undertaking high-cost transport and communication projects.

The traffic congestion in Dhaka will not be alleviated even if all the potential projects in Dhaka’s traffic and transport plan are considered for implementation. Unless the decentralization of regional development across the country can reduce the flow of people to Dhaka. The Institute for Planning and Development advises to formulate projects and build infrastructure to solve the traffic problem of Dhaka by analyzing the potential cost of building any major infrastructure in Dhaka.

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