FAKE LICENSES, UNFIT VEHICLES : Drive brings no change

Unfit vehicles continue to run on the streets in the capital in violation of a government ban in this regard. The photos were taken at Mohammadpur and Matijheel on Friday.  — Indrajit Ghosh

The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority’s ongoing drive against unfit vehicles and fake driving licenses all over the country appears to have had little impact.

Many unfit vehicles still ply the Dhaka city streets and highways, and at roads in other parts of the country.
Many of these vehicles were hurriedly painted over by transport owners at different areas in the capital, including Jatrabari, Demra and Aminbazar.
Meanwhile, passengers are also suffering because of a sudden shortage of public transportation on the roads.
Experts said the government should arrange alternative transportation service, especially through Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation buses, during drives like these to ease passenger suffering.
The authorities have taken action against only a handful of fake driving licenses and owners of unfit vehicles across the country, during its recent rive following a High Court order.
The highest number of cases were filed in Dhaka metropolitan city against vehicle owners and drivers for driving unfit vehicles, holding fake driving licenses and not possessing driving licenses.
Since August 5, a total of 32 fake driving licenses have been seized while cases have been filed against 460 unfit vehicles, 83 of which have been dumped.
The High Court on August 3 asked the government and the police to keep unfit motor vehicles off the roads across the country and seize 18.77 lakh ‘fake driving licences’ and take action against the holders of fake licences.
The court passed the order suo moto after taking cognisance of a report published in the Daily Sun on August 2 under the caption ‘Road Accidents: 19 lakh fake drivers rule the highways.’
According to the finance ministry, the owners of about seven lakh trucks, buses and minibuses have paid no tax and fees in the past one decade while about three lakh of those vehicles are running without fitness certificates in Dhaka district.
After BRTA started the drive on August 5, passengers were seen standing in long queue at the capital’s Farmgate, Karwan Bazar, Shahbagh, Jigatola, Gulistan and other areas.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon urbanisation and good governance programme committee member secretary Iqbal Habib told New Age that the government’s plan of taking unfit vehicles off the street was not taken with easing public suffering in mind.
‘The government should put state-run BRTC buses on roads during drives like these to ease people’s sufferings and sustain the drive’s effectiveness,’ he said.
Sudden decisions will not stop the chaos in the roads, he added.
BRTA statistics show that between August 5 and August 17 its executive magistrates in Dhaka metropolitan city filed 166 cases for driving unfit vehicles of which 69 vehicles were dumped, and filed cases against 162 drivers for different offenses.
During this time, 71 people were imprisoned for up to six months while five driving licenses have been seized.
Between August 10 and August 17 in Dhaka, cases have been filed against 77 drivers for driving without license and six drivers for holding fake license.
In the rest of the country, between August 9 and August 16, cases have been filed for driving 294 unfit vehicles of which 14 vehicles have been dumped.
Cases have been filed against 437 drivers for driving without license and 42 drivers for holding fake license.
Only six people were imprisoned for up to six months in the rest of the country while 27 driving licenses were seized.
On the low rate of driving license seizure BRTA chairman Md Nazrul Islam told New Age on Tuesday that they do not have any correct statistics on the number of fake driving licenses.
‘If any media organisation gives us a list of fake driving licenses we will take immediate action,’ he said.
The chairman also said the drives would continue.

Source: New Age

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