Busy BRTA offices teem with brokers

People queue up outside booths of the office to get their documents of their vehicles on Tuesday as Traffic Week 2018 goes on. — Indrajit Kumer Ghosh

Irregularities and mismanagement are there as have always been, but now that people are rushing to the busiest Bangladesh Road Transport Authority offices to get valid papers of their vehicles, brokers and corrupt officials have appeared into the scene with extra zeal.
In the wake of countrywide student protests against anarchy in the road transport sector, a surging number of people have been in a hurry to have new driving licence or for renewal of the old one or for having fitness certificate, leading to long queues on the premises of the BRTA office at Mirpur in Dhaka.
Availing the situation, cliques of brokers, in collusion with a section of corrupt officials, are fleecing the service seekers waiting for hours in the queues.
Service seekers have alleged that if someone pays any broker, the works are done immediately and without any hassle, otherwise it takes too long.
Officials said the number of brokers suddenly increased following increased activities in almost all circle offices of BRTA while the biggest rush was at Mirpur.
BRTA deputy director (Chittagong division) Shahidullah said submission of application for learner driving licences at the circle office increased to more than 300 daily currently, which would not cross 100 earlier.
The number of renewal of registrations also increased, he added.
BRTA deputy director (Sylhet division) Shohidullah Kaiser said in Sylhet circle office currently around 250 applications were submitted daily, which was around 50 earlier.
The number of vehicles for fitness renewal also increased from around 100 to 200 recently, he said.
As there was no magistrate at the circle, they could not conduct mobile court against the brokers in the office, he added.
Students, mostly from schools and colleges, took to the streets across the country demanding justice for two of their fellows killed in Kurmitola bus accident in the capital on July 29.
The students took over the control of city traffic and started checking documents of different motor vehicles while they did not spare vehicles of sitting minister, state minister, police and journalists.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police, amid the countrywide protests, began Traffic Week on Sunday to reinforce discipline on roads and highways, leading a huge number of drivers and owners to BRTA circle offices to get legal papers and update their licences and certificates.
To handle the rush, BRTA on Monday issued an order to keep open all its circle offices from Saturday to Thursday from 9:00am to 9:00pm.
The order will be effective until another order, it adds.
‘The children pushed us hard; they showed us what the law enforcers should do,’ said Md Naqib, a motorcyclist who came to Mirpur for a learner licence.
Since Tuesday morning to afternoon, a huge number of people were seen waiting in long queues in front of different counters and bank booths at Mirpur circle office to get learner licences, renew driving licences and get fitness certificates of their vehicles.
Service seekers complained about inadequate number of officials who were mostly slow and took hours to get the jobs done.
‘If you give brokers money you will get your work done without delay as they have underhand dealings with the staffers working here,’ alleged Mohammad Wakil, a Rampura resident.
A motorcyclist said that officially it takes Tk 2,545 to get a driving licence which can be got, even without passing tests, by paying the broker Tk 10,000.
Seeking anonymity, a senior officer in the office said that recently the number of brokers at Mirpur office was just like ants.
In the afternoon, 11 people were seen inside a room and the on-duty ansar members said they detained them for their suspicious movement.
BRTA executive magistrate Md Munibur Rahman conducted a mobile court in the office while five brokers were jailed for one month each.
Of them, 24-year-old Mohammad Rahat said he had been appointed by a local ‘senior brother’ who gave him Tk 300 for doing works for others and Tk 100 for lunch daily.
He admitted that there were many like him.
Another broker Md Khairul Islam Bashar, admitted that both he and his wife had job but he worked as a broker to earn extra.
On Monday, six brokers in the circle were punished.
BRTA officials said at Mirpur’s Vehicle Inspection Centre earlier around 30 vehicles came to check fitness daily, which leapt to 94 on Monday.
The numbers of applications for learner driving licence was 443 on July 29 and 421 in July 30 which rose to 448 on August 5 and 740 on August 6.
The numbers of applications for renewing driving licence was 90 on July 29 and 74 in July 30 and just after a week the number was 158 on August 6.
BRTA chairman Md Moshiur Rahman, during a visit to Mirpur office in the afternoon, claimed that they were regularly taking actions against the brokers.

Source: New Age.

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