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Baghdad Invited Bids To Build Metro


The slums of Sadr City would be connected to the metro line.

The slums of Sadr City would be connected to the metro line.

BAGHDAD, June 8 (Reuters) - The Baghdad mayor's office has invited international companies to bid to build two metro lines crossing the war-battered Iraqi capital.

The first line should have 20 stations and run 18 kilometers from the giant Shi'ite Muslim slum of Sadr City in the city's northeast to the largely Sunni district of Adhamiyah in its northwest, a statement on a government website said.

The second line would be 21 kilometers long and have 21 stations between upscale Mansour district in the west and the equally upper-middle-class area of Mesbah in the east.

Violence has fallen sharply in Iraq in the past year, and the government wants to build up the private sector and develop infrastructure damaged and neglected during years of conflict.

The metro project is an ambitious one for a city only just beginning to emerge from years of sectarian bloodshed between once dominant Sunnis and majority Shi'ites. Devastating car and suicide bombs, mostly blamed on Al-Qaeda or other Sunni Islamist cells, still regularly rock the city of uncertain millions.

"It's a daydream," said Salah Abdul-Razzaq, the governor of Baghdad Province, whose office is separate from the mayor's. "It is costly, we would need billions of dollars," he said, arguing instead for the construction of a monorail.
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