BAF defends revised route
Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has said the revised route of proposed metro rail, also known as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)-6, is a right decision of the government.
The revised route would in no way harm public interest, rather it would serve the very purpose of easing traffic congestion of the capital in a better way, an Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate press release said on Thursday.
The release that contains the statement of the BAF about the MRT-6 route was issued against the backdrop of media reports on this issue and to clear the stand of the Air Force regarding the matter of public interest.
The government had rightly decided to build the route via Farmgate-Khamarbari-Rokeya Sarani instead of Bijoy Sarani, which would have no negative impact on Tejgaon Airport operation, it said.
The Tejgaon Airport, which is a fully operational airport and a strategic structure, is being used by the BAF and the Bangladesh Army jointly for operating helicopters, training aircraft, jet and bigger transport aircraft (4-engine C-130).
The BAF alone uses the airport for 10,000 flying hours a year besides operating regular flights for VVIPs, VIPs and carrying emergency goods and supply for relief operation.
The release said that all the structures around the airport are regulated by the Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR-84) and Bangladesh Gadget-8, which stipulate that the highest height of a structure would be 1:50 of its distance from the approach funnel of the runway.
The planned MRT-6 line through Bijoy Sarani was 701 feet far from the runway where the tallest structure could be only 14 feet. The proposed MRT on that place would be 62 feet high, prompting increase of the height of the landing approach and leaving a big portion at the beginning of runway unused for that increase.
In that case, the length of the runway would decrease to an alarming level, risking and disrupting the operation of jet and transport aircraft.
Regarding the position of the Bangabandhu Novo Theatre, the BAF said the dome of the theatre is fairly far from the runway approach line. The Novo Theatre is a ‘point obstruction’, with no high structures along side it. As a result, the landing and takeoff are managed by slight ‘lateral manoeuvre’.
But the MRT-6 line on the Bijoy Sarani would fall across the ‘approach path’ as a ‘wall obstruction’, leaving no room for such manoeuvre for aircraft operations. This will force changing ‘approach angel’ to 8 degree from usual 2.5-3 degree, increasing all sorts of risks in landing and takeoff.
The press release said the planned MRT-6 line on Bijoy Sarani would increase the risks to a level that would reduce the use of a ‘strategic operational airfield’ like the Tejgaon.
The high-rise buildings around this airport such as Falcon Tower, newly build Trust Bank and IDB Bhaban are not hindering the landing and takeoff of the aircraft as those buildings are far from the close proximity of the approach funnel.
It said the airport is an alternative to the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (SIA) for operating BAF jet and the civil aircraft and for relief operation during any emergency situation including natural calamity.
The airport is also an ideal one from the ‘air strategic’ point of view. Its ‘strategic depth’ is also significant for ‘survivability’ and protecting the central airspace during war, which had been developed to this level by spending huge money and resources in the past few years.
It said the two airports in Dhaka (SIA and Tejgaon) together increase the ‘survivability’ and the ‘synergic effect’ while they serve each other as ‘technical redundancy’ for ‘combat air operations’.
“Tejgaon airport should be kept in full operation to maintain the strategic status of it, otherwise the BAF would lose its capacity to great extent in maintaining effectively the security of Dhaka and other areas of the central region, which will go against the interest of the country and can be ‘catastrophic’,” the BAF said.
On the other hand, the press release said, building of the MRT on the revised route would help protect the Tejgaon airport when it would serve the ultimate purpose of the project in improving traffic situation in Dhaka.
-With BSS/The Daily Star input