BRTC buses run sans valid papers
Desk Report: Many buses of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC), the state-owned agency to operate pubic transports on commercial basis, are plying roads without renewal of their fitness certificates, in violation of traffic law, reports Daily Sun.
Operation of unfit vehicles are held responsible for many road fatalities.
A daily sun investigation found that hundreds of BRTC vehicles without renewed papers are running on roads in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Bagura and other places.
The buses have kept plying even after the violent movement students waged across the country demanding road safety following the death of two fellows in road crash in Dhaka on July 29 and amid the traffic week law enforcers are observing to drive unfit vehicles off the street.
Sources said some of the vehicles did not renew their fitness certificates even in the last 10 years.
Traffic law requires every vehicle to go through fitness check and renewal of tax tokens every year to ply the road legally. Several sources said even the traffic regulators – Bangladesh Road Transport Authority – are helpless to BRTC vehicles as they belong to the state.
BRTC owns over 1,500 vehicles, including 950 buses and 100 trucks.
An official of the state-owned corporation said on condition of anonymity that papers of no BRTC vehicle has been renewed after 2015, but still they run on roads.
He said it has become a tradition that only new buses will take registrations, fitness certificates and tax tokens for a year. “Then they will forget about their renewal.”
The BRTC vehicles operating with expired fitness certificates include Dhaka Metro BA-11-1279, 11-5367, 11-5725, 11-1391, 11-5067, 11-5368, 11-5726, 11-5916, 11-1418, 11-6089, 11-5972, 11-5047, 11-6047, 11-5061, 11-5017, 11-6096, 11-6111, 11-5369, 11-6198, 11-5765, 11-5055, 11-3120, 11-5370, 11-0756, 11-5017, 11-5796, 11-5724, 11-5719, 11-4966, 11-6229, 11-6105, Bagura BA-11-0019, 11-0022, 11-0059, 11-0021 and Narayanganj BA-11-0080, 11-0079, 11-0078, 11-0077, 11-0076, 11-0081, 11-0082 and 11-0083.
When asked, drivers said they are informed that their vehicles are outdated though they have no papers with them as all the papers are kept to depot managers in the office.
“As all these are government vehicles so there is no need to keep papers with us,” a driver said.
Besides, a traffic inspector alleged that they have nothing to do as they all know that no government vehicles keep any papers with them. Even they cannot take any action against them.
BRTC chairman Farid Ahmed Bhuiyan acknowledged that many buses, especially intra-city busses, are outdated, but papers of inter-city buses regularly updated their papers.
“Such a situation occurred after 2015 as the government has increased salaries of officials almost double, but income of BRTC did not increase. So, the allocated money of registration fees was spent on paying officials’ wages,” he said.
In the last five years, we did not get any new buses or trucks but expenditure increases, he said, adding: “Already we have held a meeting with the ministry concerned for allocating some Tk 7 crores to renew vehicles’ papers.”
Farid said all depots have been asked to take initiatives to renew outdated vehicles.
Talking to the daily sun, Nur Mohammad Mozumder, director of the enforcement wing, said as per the Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983, it is mandatory to receive fitness certificates every year from the authority.
Operating vehicles without fitness certificates is punishable offence and one may face imprisonment and fine for the violation of the law, he added.
He said mobile courts are regularly conducting drives on the roads and many vehicles are fined during the time. Even BRTC buses are not spared.
According to the law, for violation of section 47 of the ordinance, which deals with fitness clearance, a person may face, for the first offence, maximum three months’ imprisonment, or up to Tk 2,000 fine, or both.
And for any subsequent offence, the person may face up to six months in jail, or up to Tk 5,000 fine or both.
ADC of Badda Traffic zone Lucky Akter said checking is an ongoing process and it has been geared up on the occasion of a traffic week.
“Unfit vehicles are not plying the roads as checking has been intensified, even BRTC buses aren’t spared during the drive,” Lucky said.