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Why is metro rail construction costlier in Bangladesh?

  • Published at 01:25 am March 12th, 2018
  • Last updated at 01:27 am March 12th, 2018
Why is metro rail construction costlier in Bangladesh?
As an easy and comfortable transport system metro rail service is quite popular in many cities around the world. Bangladesh is building first ever 20.1 kilometre metro rail project between Uttara and Motijheel in Dhaka with the capacity of carrying 60,000 passengers each hour. However, the construction cost of the metro rail (MRT line-6) in Dhaka is more than double comparing to neighboring Indian cities like Delhi or Mumbai. The Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), a state-run entity implementing the metro rail project, has recently conducted a study on ‘cost of constructing metro rail in India versus Dhaka’. The study reveals that the construction cost in Bangladesh is higher than India. On an average, per kilometre metro rail construction cost in India is $50-60 million, however Bangladesh is building the first metro rail project at a cost of $135 million per kilometre. Bangladesh is constructing 20.1km long metro rail at a cost of $2.7 billion or Tk22,000 crore, said the DMTCL report. According to the report, construction of the second phase of the 72km long metro rail in the Indian city of Banglalore started in 2014. The project is costing $4.7 billion that means $65.3 million per km. It has 13.79km underground road for which there will have 12 underground stations among 61 stations. Underground metro rail construction cost is generally three times higher than the elevated metro rail. The project is to be completed this year. In another Indian city of Jaipur, a 12km long metro rail was completed in 2014 at a cost of $500 million that means per kilometre cost was only $41.7 million. This metro rail has also 2.78 km underground part along with three underground stations out of 11 stations. The second phase of the project started in 2016. The 24km long project will have 6km underground along with five stations. There will have a total 20 stations. The cost of the project is only $1.02 billion while per km cost is $42.5 million. The project will be inaugurated in 2021. Similarly, the per km construction cost of Chennai metro rail is $55.5 million. Launched last year, most part of the metro rail is underground. “It is true that construction cost of metro rail is lower in India than Bangladesh. We need to conduct more study on finding ways to reduce the cost,” said Prof Shamsul Hoque of Civil Engineering department of Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology. “But the project aspect of the two countries is different. India is already quite experienced in this sector as they have completed several metro rail projects in different states,” he added.

Can the cost of being stuck in traffic due to metro rail construction be calculated? Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain

The metro rail project is being constructed under the financial assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Of the total cost JICA will provide 75 percent and the rest will be met by the government of Bangladesh. JICA provided loan at 0.01 percent interest payable within 40 years, including a 10-year grace period. The Italian-Thai Development Public Company Ltd, a Thai-based company and Chinese Company- Synohydro Corporation Ltd are constructing the metro rail under an agreement with the DMTCL.