Friday, July 19, 2019 | ePaper

Ban on rickshaw and its impact on people

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DHAKA North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam on Wednesday reaffirmed the government's decision to ban three-wheeler rickshaws and rickshaw-vans on three thoroughfares in the capital. The ban won't be imposed on the by-lane from Pragati Swarani to Khilgaon, but no unregistered rickshaws or vans would run there. Earlier, Mayors of the two City Corporations had banned rickshaw in the city's major road for easing traffic congestion, but rickshaw puller carried out protests by blocking the roads for Monday and Tuesday. While it is widely seen that excessive number of private cars, which carry highest five percent commuters but occupy 76 per cent roads, is the reason for traffic jam, whereas the authorities slapped ban only on rickshaw.
For more than 1.5 crore people, there are around 8,000 public buses and 283,617 private cars in Dhaka. These cars take more space than a rickshaw. At least 3.5 million trips are made on Dhaka streets a day with rickshaws accounting for 40 percent of them. Rickshaws are one of the biggest sources of employment in Bangladesh. For the illiterate or inadequately educated people rickshaws are one of the most readily available jobs as it does not require any deposit, investment, lobbying or previous experience.
This sudden decision by the City Corporations to ban rickshaws could be turned out to be a nightmare for some rickshaw-pullers as a section of them may lose their jobs.  While scientists are putting emphasis on non-motorised vehicles, Bangladesh, one of the worst victims of climate change, is heading in the reverse direction. By placing a ban, we seem to be discouraging the use of environment-friendly modes of transport like rickshaws.  The decision to ban rickshaws may seem trivial, but its implications are multifactorial.
Rickshaw is a Japanese word. The vehicle was first invented in Japan. But nobody will find a rickshaw now in modern Japan. There is a general perception that rickshaw pulling is an inhuman job. We must say, the authorities must ensure an alternative way of earning for the rickshaw pullers before completely banning the vehicle in Dhaka roads. Otherwise, it would be another inhuman decision.  

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