Monday, December 16, 2019 | ePaper

Transport act implementation a big challenge for the govt

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THE Road Transport Act-2018 finally came into force on Sunday. But enforcing the act with stricter punishment for traffic offences seems very difficult for the authorities to ensure traffic discipline, as the issue involves a multitude of unresolved problems. Unfortunately the authorities seem to have relied solely on this act without addressing the problems in road engineering, and traffic education. Not only that inadequate infrastructure, logistics, and shortage of human resources are still there. The government will have to negotiate with the Transport Associations that have already demanded repeal of several sections of the act, delaying the process of enforcing the law. The associations, mostly led by people close to the ruling party, have been enforcing Transport strikes in different districts. Apparently, they are trying to collapse transport sector with a view to paralyze the public movement. It's a common trend since many years that the transport mafias stand in the way of implementation of government directives and court orders almost often.
One example is enough to explain the irregularities in this sector. That is issuance of fake licenses. There are about 42.17 lakh registered vehicles in the country and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority has so far issued around 23 lakh driving licences.  That means half of driving licenses fake. These have to be brought to the licensing process immediately. Another major issue is unregistered and unfit vehicles. Currently, there are an estimated 10-12 lakh unregistered, battery-and-engine-run three-wheelers and other vehicles across the country. These vehicles are largely responsible for frequent crashes. Questions remain as to how the authorities will implement the law here as it's a big source of bribe for a section of police. Similarly, there are only 109 Vehicle Inspectors and only one Vehicle Inspection Centre in the country.
There are also problems with parking spaces. Presently, a few commercial buildings have adequate parking spaces. Then there is the issue of the traffic signalling system. City authorities had applied different methods to control traffic chaos. But it failed.  Besides, extortion is another big issue in the transport sector and also main reason for creating permanent chaos. The government should have solved these problems before implementing the law.

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