According to BRTA and Bangladesh University of Engineering (BUET) accident research center, out of the 53 lakh 48 thousand 160 vehicles registered in the country, at least 550,000 are unfit. Experts also feel that there are questions about the process as it does not test fitness in a scientific way.
According to BRTA data, 3 lakh 34 thousand 252 vehicles were registered from January to July this year. Accordingly, in the last seven months, an average of 1,562 different types of vehicles were registered every day. However, the company does not have any statistics on cars without fitness.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told the National Assembly that the number of unfit vehicles in the country is 4 lakh 81 thousand 29 till December 31, 2020. On January 26, 2021, the minister gave this information in response to the question of M. Abdul Latif of Chittagong-11 Constituency during the question and answer session of Parliament. He also informed that various measures including fines, jail terms and dumping are being taken against unfit vehicles besides asking owners to do fitness through SMS, renewal arrangements from the circle office.
Experts say that any vehicle needs to have mechanical and structural fitness to run on the road. While the structural side can be seen by eye, the mechanical side has to rely entirely on experimentation. BRTA does not currently have the necessary technical and procedural capacity to take care of the entire process. Apart from the lack of sincerity of the organization in this regard, there is also a shortage of manpower. There are also allegations that unfit cars are given fitness certificates in return for money.
According to multiple sources, out of 5.3 lakh vehicles, 3.5 lakh are registered while the remaining 1.5 lakh have no certificate. According to the law, unregistered vehicles should also not have a fitness certificate. Moreover, although there is an obligation to update the fitness certificate, the bus owners are not doing it regularly. The matter has become somewhat clear in a survey report submitted to the High Court on February 7, 2018.
A court-ordered national impartial expert committee said at the time that the survey was conducted on the internal and external fitness of 83 vehicles. The results show that 24 percent of the vehicles have either incorrect or unacceptable fitness certificates. 33 percent of buses do not have fitness certificate, 56 percent do not have speed governor seal.
BUET’s accident research center director Professor Md. Hadiuzzaman said, BRTA has given opportunity to update the fitness certificate many times without penalty. An idea has arisen among the owners that if the car can be driven on the road without fitness, why would they take it. As a result, they are trying to manage in different ways.
According to an estimate by BUET’s Accident Research Center, 66,661 unfit vehicles were responsible for road accidents among other causes from 1998 to 2013. According to another estimate, 11,929 vehicles were responsible for accidents in the 5 years from 2010-15. Among them, the number of fit cars is 8 thousand 18, unfit cars 2 thousand 445 and others 1 thousand 466.
Professor Md. According to Hadiuzzaman, BRTA should properly enforce the law against vehicle owners. Otherwise the number of unfit or unfit cars will continue to increase. It will also increase road accidents and fatalities. For this, BRTA has to strengthen the campaign. Bring order on the road. There is no alternative to stop the march of death.
Saidur Rahman, Executive Director of Road Safety Foundation, said that when the accident happened, it was said that the vehicle was not fit. He did not have a driver’s license. But the Road Transport Act is not being properly implemented to ban unfit vehicles. Due to an unscrupulous cycle of law, the more anarchy, the more extortion there is. Due to these reasons, intentional accidents are happening in many cases, which should be called murder instead of loss of life.
According to a BUET source, there are more than 3.5 lakh registered motorcycles among engine driven vehicles. About 1.5 million more are without registration. The number of battery operated vehicles is close to 40-50 lakh and the number of cars like Nasimon-Kariman made with local technology can be as high as 10 lakh. Most of these vehicles do not have valid documents. There is no question of having a fitness certificate.
According to the calculations of Yatri Kalyan Samity, the number of buses, trucks-covered vans will be close to 100,000 and close to 4 lakh. The number of pickups is like 7-8 lakhs. Out of this, unfit buses can be 20 percent, truck-covered vans 20-25 percent, pickups 10 percent. 80 percent of registered and unregistered human haulers are unfit. About 40 lakh motor rickshaws can be called unfit.
Mozammel Haque, secretary general of Yatri Kalyan Samity, said unfit cars are not being stopped due to extortion, unethical money transactions and involvement of political leaders. Harassment by the police is also a major obstacle. The owners continue to manage the neighborhood in charge of taking care of the matter. The situation is not improving as mobile courts are not operating due process. An inevitable consequence of the overall chaos is the loss of lives on the roads and highways.
Director of Buet accident research center. Hadiuzzaman says, if the fitness process is not done properly, if there is a loss of life on the road due to the structural weakness of the vehicle, it is time to think about whether it can be called an accident. It becomes necessary to have a precise definition. The authorities should take this into consideration.
An officer in charge of the concerned department of BRTA said on condition of anonymity, they are active throughout the year to stop the movement of unfit and defective vehicles on the roads and highways. Regular raids and mobile courts are conducted, necessary measures are taken. However, the number of unfit vehicles is not decreasing, but increasing mainly because of the transport owners.
There are complaints, the vehicle owners sit back when the BRTA raids on charges of excess fare, route violation/without route permit, unfitness, hydraulic horn and other offences. They suddenly reduced the number of buses on the road especially when the mobile court came to the field. Along with that, many complaints are also made about the effectiveness of BRTA’s operation.
In this regard, BRTA Director (Road Safety) Mahbub-e-Rabbani said, We do not have any statistics of unfit vehicles. As per the new law, regular raids, mobile courts are conducted. We’re working off unfit cars, not sitting around.
When asked how there are so many unfit vehicles on the road even though BRTA is active, he said that it is the main responsibility of the police to see it. They also have manpower. He asked them how these cars are getting on the road. We are conducting an operation. What else can I do?
In this regard, Deputy Police Commissioner of Ramna Traffic Division Jaydev Chowdhury said, BRTA gives the fitness certificate of vehicles. We don’t give it anymore. We conduct raids as part of regular work. Dumping is done, cases are given if you get unfit cars without certificate.
Source: Bangla Tribune
IA/ 10 September 2022