Hazards of Metro rail route through DU

| Updated: October 23, 2017 04:46:23

Hazards of Metro rail route through DU
Dhaka University (DU), the highest almamater of the country, is integrally associated with the historical progress and socio-economic development of the nation. Through out its evolution, the DU had never been against any kind of development initiative of vital public interest. But today, it is confronted with a mega development project -- that of the Metro Rail -- which has been designed to have one of its routes through the campus in such way that it is very likely to cause adverse impact on academic atmosphere. This has led the students of DU to campaign for a movement in order that the Metro project does not interfere with the academic atmosphere. On January 7, 2016, students of the DU formed a human chain under the banner of "General Students, University of Dhaka" carrying various posters that read 'Change the route of metro-rail', 'save the University of Dhaka', 'Don't want metro-rail in the book-fair premise' and so on.
This movement has been mobilised through virtual interactions in social networking sites. An 'event page' was created in Facebook on the occasion of the human chain with a view to adding vigour to the movement. According to this event page of Facebook, around six thousand students as well as wellwishers from outside were interested in this event and supported the motion.
One need not dispute the high importance of the Metro Rail Project, which is believed to bring relief to the perennial traffic congestion in Dhaka city. According to the Route plan of this project, DoyelChattar (beside Carzon Hall) is being contemplated as a stoppage. DU students are protesting against this.
Obviously, there is logic in favour of the students' protest. Metro rail will generate sound pollution in places like central library, Carzon Hall and the Institute of Nutrition & Food Science (INFS). Apart from affecting class room activities, laboratory works are also feared to be affected by vibration from passing trains. There is also the issue of security that many protesters believe will be at stake once the rail station starts attracting hawkers, beggars and also criminals of all hues. Not only the people but also rickshaws, auto rickshaws, taxies will have their stands around the stoppage, well within the DU campus. As a result, the environment of many important places like the TSC, Carzon Hall, Dhaka Gate, Bangla Academy, Atomic Energy Commission and INFS will be badly affected. 
The University of Dhaka is not only a place of academic excellence or research. It is more than these. It is the place where we perform our rally on Pahela Baisakh, we gather here to celebrate the Falgun Utshob. The biggest book fair of the country Amar Ekushey Book Fair also takes place in its campus. Are we ready to sacrifice all these - a long heritage we have been upholding for decades? It is not known whether any Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) had been done on the Metro project.
We want to see the Dhaka Metro as a landmark development project in the history of the country. The DU students are not against this project. They just want to change the route to save their campus. Better to say, they are in favour of a more sustainable metro-rail. So, it is a test for DU students whether they are able to save their campus. 
 A divergent route can be suggested. That is Shahbag-Matsha Bhaban-Press Club which covers 1.5 km, whereas the route Shahbag-TSC-Doyel Chattar covers 2.0 km. So, if the route can be changed, this difference of half a kilometre will save approximately Tk 3.00 billion. Assessment on this suggestion may be done by the concerned authorities.
The writer is an undergraduate student of Development Studies, University of Dhaka. 

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