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The Financial Express

Space for MRT-06

Historic Kamalapur railway building to be demolished

| Updated: November 25, 2020 13:23:53


Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Historic Kamalapur railway building to be demolished

The Bangladesh Railway (BR) will demolish the historic Kamalapur rail station building in order to accommodate space for mass rapid transit (MRT) line-06.

To this end, a coordination meeting of BR, Kajima Corporation, Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) and Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) at Rail Bhaban agreed in principle on Tuesday.

Prime minister's private-sector adviser Salman F Rahman, railways minister Mohammad Nurul Islam Sujon, railways secretary Selim Reza, PPPA CEO Sultana Afroza and DMTCL managing director MAN Siddique attended it.

Sources said the potential Japanese investor of the Kamalapur Multimodal Transport Hub (KMMTH) project proposed to allow MRT-06 in it following the PM's instruction in this regard.

It also proposed to build a replica of the northern side of the existing iconic historical structure to manage the situation.

Disclosing this during a briefing after the meeting, minister Mr Sujon said the final decision will come from the prime minister.

Earlier, the Japanese company made reservations on the entry of any transport system from the front side of the station to make the KMMTH project attractive.

But the under-construction MRT line could not find its ending station as it is being built from Uttara to Motijheel without giving transit option to thousands of passengers after Motijheel.

Kajima has been selected as the potential investor of KMMTH under the government-to-government (G2G) public-private-partnership (PPP) modality.

As the BR accepted its pre-design concept, Kajima sought assurances from the implementer not to block view of the hub from front side to make it attractive on all aspects.

Apart from MRT-06, other transit lines, rail line and Dhaka elevated expressway are being tried to link with the KMMTH from back side.

In pre-design, the station building has been shown as a museum to preserve the iconic grand structure as a historical place and tourism site.

Sources said a Kajima delegate sat with bridges division, roads, highways and transport division and DMTCL for the past three days to settle these issues.

Mr Sujon said wider space is needed for the elevated MRT-06 line to start its return journey towards Uttara.

As the entire station complex will be covered by the MRT line, he said, Kajima proposed Kamalapur as an alternative.

The replica has been proposed to build the norther side of the building as part of the national heritage.

Robert Boughey and Daniel Durnham of Luis Berger and Consulting Engineers Ltd built Kamalapur Rail Station during 1961-68 as a symbolic gateway to the city with the dome-umbrella design.

Architect Ehsan Khan, vice-president of Institute of Architects Bangladesh, criticised the idea of demolishing Kamalapur station.

The parasol roof of the station continues to provide a unique skyline, he said.

"It's a gateway that symbolises the architectural energy, defining the urban persona of the city, a master piece," Mr Khan told the FE over phone.

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