Certain contradictions and the government’s apathy to implementing decisions, has led to chaos on the highways. It has spoken of banning the easy-bike, but has not stopped imports of the vehicle. CNG-run auto-rickshaws are being registered freely, with a seal of ‘not to run on the highways’. Despite prohibitions, the Nasimon, Bhatbhati and Karimon vehicles are running on the highways, while the authorities turn a blind eye. There are over an estimated 1.3 million of these three types slow-moving vehicles on the highways.
Transport expert Prof Shamsul Haque of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) told Prothom Alo, slow-moving vehicles should have been evicted from the highways long ago for the sake of road safety.
The ban must be enforced, but the authorities must ensure alternative means of transport for the commuters at first.
Ironically, the government has approved registration of three-wheelers and human haulers.
According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), more than 231,000 registered and around 100,000 unregistered auto-rickshaws ply across the country.
According to BRTA officials and associations of transport owners and workers, the number of unregistered Karimon, Nasimon and Bhatbhati will be around one million.
Three-wheelers like Karimon, Nasimon and Bhatbhati were officially banned in a meeting of the National Road Safety Council in 2010.
A decision was also taken in the meeting that these battery-run slow-moving vehicles would not be registered. A letter suggesting a ban on importing these vehicles was also sent to the commerce ministry at the time.
A road transport ministry official told Prothom Alo that the letter was sent to the commerce and home ministries but it did not see any progress.
Visiting Birshrestha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium market in Kamalapur, this correspondent on Sunday came across hundreds of battery-run easy bikes in several showrooms in the market. The traders said they import easy bike parts from China and assemble them in Dhaka.
Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary MAN Siddique told Prothom Alo, “Life is invaluable and so the government will not budge from its ban of three-wheelers on the highways. The ban has been imposed only for 570 kilometres of highways.”
Talking about a ban on importing easy bike parts, Siddique said it was a matter of inter-ministry decision and it was being workedupon..
Bangladesh Passengers’ Welfare Association secretary general Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, however, said ground the government must be realistic. It should ensure alternative buses or make separate lanes for auto-rickshaws on highways.
Source: Prothom Alo