DMTCL MD: PM to Inaugurate Metro Rail by Dec End
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the commercial journey of the much-anticipated metro rail service (from Uttara to Agargaon) in Dhaka at the end of December this year.
Managing Director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) MAN Siddique made the announcement during a press briefing in Dhaka on Wednesday, 23 November.
He was attending the agreement signing ceremony between Japan’s Tokyu Construction and local Max Infrastructure to develop the depot area for MRT-1 – Banglaedsh first-ever underground metro rail – for which physical work is expected to start next month.
The DMTCL MD said, “We have sent a proposal to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to finalize the inauguration date. We want the premier to launch the country’s first metro rail any day of December last. We are yet to receive any confirmation.
“However, I have spoken with Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam in this regard. He has told us to take all necessary preparations for the launch keeping in mind that it will take place in the last week of next month.”
According to the DMTCL official, about 94.57 percent of the construction work on the metro rail’s Uttara-Agargaon portion has been completed up to 31 October.
Concluding integrated test by November, trial operation of trains to start in early December. But all work will be concluded by 15 December.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier hinted that the landmark infrastructure will be inaugurated after the country’s Victory Day (16 December).
In 2012, the mass rapid transit (MRT) Line 6 project worth Tk 22,000 crore was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) to develop the 20.1km long metro rail from Uttara to Motijheel.
The cost of the project rose to Tk 33,472 crore after including another 1.16 km extension from Motijheel to Kamalapur.
The metro line, which will come into full operation in June 2024, will be able to transport nearly five lakh passengers a day or 16,000 per hour in any one direction.
As the inauguration of the metro service at the Uttara-Agargaon portion nears, DTMCL signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the BRTC to operate shuttle bus services from Agargaon to Motijheel, to reduce the hassles of metro rail passengers.
In September, the government announced the fare chart of the metro rail at TK 5 for each kilometre with a minimum fare of Tk 20.
Metro rail commuters will get a 10 percent discount by paying fares on the rapid pass or MRT pass which will be issued by the DMTCL.
‘BD can attract more investment if they assure less corruption than other markers’
If Bangladesh can assure US citizens and investors that corruption is less prevalent here than in other markets, it will likely attract more investment, said US Ambassador Peter Haas.
“Corruption is a parasite that feeds on the resources of a society and drains it of its strength. It can devastate every level of business and government,” the ambassador said during the “Call to Action Against Corruption Summit” held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday (21 March).
He said the United States is committed to working with Bangladesh to eliminate corruption, to enable Bangladeshi citizens to enjoy lives of dignity and inviting more international trade and foreign investment.
“We support initiatives that help Bangladeshi businesses meet international standards and regulations, making them more competitive in the global market.”
By promoting ethical business practices, a more level playing field can be created for businesses of all sizes and encourage more foreign investment, said Peter Haas.
Bangladesh has many advantages that potential investors would find attractive, he said, adding, “But as American business leaders tell me: multi-national firms have options on where they invest.”
He said those will choose whichever country has the lowest levels of corruption, the fewest bureaucratic obstacles, the greatest respect for rule of law, and the best logistics infrastructure for their business.
So, if Bangladesh can attract more investment only by assuring citizens and investors that corruption is less prevalent here than in other markets, he said.
The US Agency for International Development, USAID, has partnered with Bangladesh’s Registrar of Joint Stock Companies to launch an online registration process for new businesses. This makes registering new businesses more transparent, faster, and more affordable.
The USAID has also worked with the Bangladesh National Board of Revenue to establish Authorized Economic Operators. This has empowered the private sector, instead of the government, to release shipments at ports.
As a result, the process has become more transparent and raised the level of trust between the private sector and the government.
The US Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) works with the Private Public Partnership Authority Bangladesh to conduct workshops to improve the legal and business environment of Bangladesh.
The CLDP also works with Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) to improve municipal governance by improving fiscal transparency. Under this program, the CLDP brought a DNCC delegation, including the mayor, to Miami in January.
The US Department of Justice trains investigators and attorneys in the Anti-Corruption Commission on such topics as how to investigate and prosecute money laundering, how to use electronic evidence, and how to investigate financial crimes.
It has also fostered a relationship between Bangladesh’s Financial Intelligence Unit and the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre.
The United States is committed to holding corrupt officials accountable for their actions. This can take various forms, said US Ambassador Peter Haas.
PM Sheikh Hasina urges to ensure sustainable export growth & explore new markets
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked all concerned to find a way out to ensure sustainable export growth and explore new global markets for Bangladeshi goods in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Prime Minister made the call while speaking at the 11th meeting of the National Committee on Export, at her official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka on Monday (20 March).
PM said, “Steps will have to be taken to achieve sustainable export growth after analysing situation steamed from the global economic recession due to the war in Ukraine,” she told the 11th meeting regarding export at her official Ganabhaban residence here.
The prime minister also urged all concerned to diversify the export items and explore new markets for those alongside revitalising the local markets.
“A new scope has been created globally to explore new markets for Bangladeshi items due to enhanced demands for goods because of the war in Ukraine. We have to grasp the markets,” she added.
The premier also called for formulating a new export policy for another 4 or 5 years by revising, changing and improving the existing one going to expire by 2024.
She said the new export policy should be adopted by analyzing the ongoing global economic recession, sanctions, counter-sanctions for the war and the challenges and scopes possibly to be created in Bangladesh after the graduation from the LDC by 2026.
Dhaka’s Air Still ‘unhealthy’ amid slight shower
Dhaka’s air quality continued to be in the ‘unhealthy’ zone this morning (March 20, 2023).
With an air quality index (AQI) score of 133 at 9 am, Dhaka ranked 15 on the list of cities worldwide with the worst air quality.
An AQI between 101 and 150 is considered ‘unhealthy’, particularly for sensitive groups.
Iraq’s Baghdad, Pakistan’s Lahore and South Korea’s Incheon occupied the first three spots in the list, with AQI scores of 259, 257 and 194, respectively. An AQI between 201 and 300 is said to be ‘very unhealthy’, while a reading of 301+ is considered ‘hazardous’, posing serious health risks to residents.
In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants — Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2 and Ozone. Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues. Its air quality usually turns unhealthy in winter and improves during the monsoon.
Air pollution consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide.
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