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DTCA, DMTC are at odds over ownership of metro rail projects

Munima Sultana | April 18, 2018 00:00:00

Conflict has arisen over the ownership of all metro rail projects and future control over the mass transit system in the city as the metro rail company refused to work under Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA).

Sources said the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company Limited (DMTC) has already stopped communication with DTCA, which has so far been maintained, since the formation of the company in 2013.

They said the company has requested the Planning Commission to consider it the executing agency instead of DTCA.

After getting the request, sources said, the Planning Commission also raised a query to the DTCA in this regard. It asked DTCA as a coordination authority of city transport sector to report on what regulation the DMTC is considered the executing agency and what the extent of delegation of financial power it has.

"We have been in odd situation over the DMTC's attitude as the DTCA has been working as the policy and regulatory authority to assist the metro rail projects following the strategic transport plan (STP)," said an official.

He said DTCA was formed to coordinate all transport agencies as they have to report the board of DTCA which was formed with top representatives of all concerned with the Minister of Road Transport and Bridges as its chairman. Though the DMTC has not been included as a board member, it has so far attended all the board meetings except the last one.

According to the DTCA Act 2012, it will be responsible for formulation of planning, implementation and approval strategy for transport operational activities, fare fixing and for other related activities for transportation operated by government, non-government or public-private partnership to operate Bus Rapid Transit, Metro Rail, and bus or rail (metro/mono/circular/commuter) or expressway (including high capacity lane or vehicles) through route rent or lease (route franchise) under Mass Rapid Transit system to provide rapid and improved service.

The metro rail act 2015 and metro rail regulation 2016 also state the DTCA as the authority of all planning, construction, maintenance and development of metro rails.

DMTC officials said DMTC was formed to work independently and so far the company board exercised power to select contractors for Mass Rapid Transit Line -6 with a special permission received from the cabinet committee on economic affairs.

They said the company signed the loan agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency as the executing agency of the first metro rail project MRT 6.

The Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP) recommended total five MRT lines in the city of which MRT 6 is being constructed from Uttara to Motijheel.

The DTCA had conducted all necessary studies and detailed design under a project Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development (DMRTD) project. It is now studying two other MRTs projects with the technical support of JICA.

However, sources said the DMTC wrote to the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges to hand over those two MRT lines - MRT 1 and 5 -- under the company.

Sources said as per the DTCA Act, DTCA has the right to form one or more than one companies under Section 19 to implement necessary metro rail projects in the city.

"Whatever the decision is taken must be after consultation. But the DMTC refused to attend any meeting of the DTCA including DTCA board meeting," said the official preferring not to be named since the issue is very sensitive.

He said the DMTC as well as MoRTB has so far sought opinion from the DTCA to take any decision as a coordination authority.

Another source, however, said main problem was created centering to the appointment of a new managing director who was former secretary of the ministry of road transport and bridges. The DTCA head is junior to him.

DMTC Managing Director MAN Siddique, however, said the company's metro rail project execution right was sought in line with all laws, agreements and development project proposal (DPP).

He said in an interim process, the DTCA implemented the DMRTD project. Recently, it was informed to the Planning Commission that DMTC was the executing agency as it is working full-fledged.

"The company has been working through a long-term process, which is established through laws, agreement and DPP of DMRTD," the MD told the FE over phone.

It is learnt that there are some gaps in the existing laws and acts over the execution power of the metro rails.

However, official sources said it should be settled through discussion even implementation rights of new MRTs.

"The decision in this regard should come from the government, not from the company," said one of them.

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