by Staff Correspondent, Dhaka;
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has termed the opening of Bangladesh’s first-ever metro-rail service as yet another feather to the crown of Bangladesh’s development as she initiated and completed a number of mega infrastructure development project in her South Asian country.
“It is like one more feather has been added to the crown,” Hasina told a crowd of several thousand people at Uttara’s Diabari station after inaugurating the metro service on Wednesday in reference to the opening of the bridge on the mighty river Padma only a six months ago to enhance communication between the capital and the neglected southern part of the country.
The prime minister was also steadfast to her pledge for a “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041.
She said, with the opening of the metro rail, the country has entered into the electric, remote controlled and fastest ever communication era. The service will be made public for more than 11 kilometers between Diabari and Agargaon from Thursday under the Mass Rapid Transit Line-6. The service will be expanded up to the Motijheel commercial hub by early next year.
After the inauguration, the prime minister and her younger sister, Sheikh Rehana, took the first official ride of the Metro Rail from Diabari (Uttara North) to Agargaon stations. Hasina bought her ticket herself prior to the ride along with a select group of invited guests.
Hasina also released a commemorative bank note of TK 50 to mark the opening of the metro rail.
The Prime Minister reminded the people that the project was very costly and urged them to take care of the metro rail with a capacity of carrying 60,000 passengers per hour once the project is completed by next year.
She hoped that the project would help save money and time that are being wasted daily transportation in Dhaka, one of the most densely populated megacities worldwide.
She said women will have their separate compartment on the metro-rail, beside they will be allowed to travel by the normal carriage as well. People having physical disabilities will enjoy special arrangements for hassle-free travel.
Freedom fighters of 1971 war of liberation will travel toll free, she said.
Hasina said her government is working to build six metro rails in Dhaka by 2030, adding that the process is on to conduct feasibility study of two metro rails while work is on to implement four others.
Recalling the militant attacks on Holy Artisan that left seven Japanese consultants killed, she said the attack was launched when the construction work of the metro rail was inaugurated by her.
She prayed for salvation of their departed souls and expressed her gratitude to late Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, saying he always played great role in Bangladesh’s development.
The construction work of the metro rail had started within few days of the Holy Artisan attacks at the directive of Abe, she recalled.
A monument having names of the Japanese consultants who were killed in the attacks has been built to pay respect to their memories in Diabari, she said.
Hasina thanked the people to give her scope to run the country after they voted AL to power time and again.
She vowed to build a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041 maintaining the status of a developing nation confronting all hurdles.
“Bangalee will march ahead at indomitable pace. We will build hunger and poverty free, developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh as envisioned by the Father of the Nation overcoming all odds,” she ended.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and Chief Representative of the JICA in Bangladesh Ichiguchi and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori spoke at the programme.