Traffic jam in Dhaka Metropolitan City is spiraling day-by-day defying all efforts of keeping this menace under control. Learned experts on this subject have so far suggested various measures, but results are not encouraging. Some have blamed railway level crossings for interruption to free flow of road traffic during passage of trains, and have suggested shifting of Dhaka Railway Station from Kamalapur to Tongi or Gazipur. Such a proposal needs to be examined in details and then come to a conclusion whether railway is at all to blame or deserves appreciation for its contribution towards reduction of traffic jam in Dhaka city.
Suppose Dhaka Railway Station is shifted from Kamalapur to Tongi, what will be the scenario? To ease traffic congestion railway alignment will be converted to road and invariably railway level crossings will turn into road crossings requiring traffic signals and controlling of vehicles as elsewhere in the usual fashion. So it will not help solve the problem, rather aggravate the situation in many ways.
The question of cost involvement for shifting cannot be ignored. Because, Kamalapur Station does not mean the station building only. As a "terminal station" it includes yard, locoshed, diesel workshop, sick line, wash pit line, container depot (ICD), divisional headquarter office, hundreds of staff quarters etc. as well as the land under possession of railway. Abandoning well-established infrastructures, construction of a new terminal at Tongi will incur huge expenditure, may be, several billion taka!
At present 78 up and down passenger trains are plying daily between Dhaka-Tongi and 22 between Dhaka-Narayanganj. Number of passengers entraining and detraining at all stations between Tongi-Dhaka-Narayanganj amounts roughly to one lakh per day. If railway is closed, train passengers to and from Tongi (the new terminal) will travel by road. If 80% (80,000) of train passengers move by bus, supposing carrying capacity of each bus 50...
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