A feasibility study for metrorail in Chattogram has to be completed within this year, so that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can lay the foundation stone for the project early next year, Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud said Tuesday.

Expressing gratitude to the prime minister on behalf of the residents of Chattogram, the information minister said the PM has initiated the establishment of a mass transit system in the Port City, that the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges would implement - if the feasibility study provides the green light.

Meanwhile, Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) Mayor Rezaul Karim Chowdhury and Chattogram Development Authority Chairman M Zahirul Alam Dobhas requested that attention be paid to keeping the suffering of the people at a tolerable level during the construction work, which inevitably will result in a lot of earth and stone being dug up, parts of the city becoming inaccessible and even interruptions in the supply of utilities such as gas.

The South Korean development agency KOICA will work on the feasibility study, Mahmud also said, at a views-exchange meeting on 'Preliminary survey of Metrorail survey including transport master plan of Chattogram metropolis' held at the Chattogram Circuit House.

Hasan Mahmud said Sadarghat, Chawkbazar, Bahaddarhat are densely populated areas of old Chattogram city, where the Metrorail can be implemented underground. It can be overground in other areas.

Consideration can be given to connecting areas such as the Chittagong University campus, the south bank of Karnafuli River, and the Bangabandhu Industrial City within the Metrorail network, he said.

The Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar at Mirsarai, construction of the tunnel under Karnafuli river, and various other ongoing development projects including a 'Bay Terminal' will be completed and the number of residents in the Port City will double in the next 10 years, according to the minister, who is also the publications secretary of ruling party Awami League.

"In fact, after the formation of the government in 2009, the PM announced that she was taking responsibility for the development of Chattogram, and it was not limited to the announcement," he added.

Hasan Mahmud also expressed gratitude to Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, saying that he was also keen to establish Metrorail in Chattogram from the very beginning.

Presided over by Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Md Ashraf Uddin, Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mominur Rahman, Additional Secretary of the Road Transport and Highways Department Md Abdul Malek, Koica's Country Director Young-Ah Doh, former CCC mayor AJM Nasir Uddin, Chattogram Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, Chattogram University Vice-Chancellor Professor Shireen Akhter, Chattogram University of Engineering and Technology Vice Chancellor Rafiqul Alam and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Saleh Mohammed Tanvir were present at the meeting among others.

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