Monday, September 21, 2020 | ePaper

Mismanagement over smart driving licences

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ALTHOUGH the government has enforced the Road Transport Act, 2018 with provisions for heavy fines for traffic rules violations, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is yet to provide smart driving licences to nearly one million applicants across the country, including capital Dhaka, because of tender complexities.
After overcoming all tender intricacies, the government recently gave its green signal to award the contract to an Indian company, Madras Security Printers (MSP), for printing four million smart cards in the next five years. Earlier in 2016, BRTA signed a deal with Tiger IT to manufacture 1.5 million smart licences within 2022. But in the meantime, the World Bank has blacklisted the company and its plea for excess printing of smart cards here has been rejected.
Meanwhile, allegations have also been raised against the new MSP company that it provided fake security stickers to Kenya in 2018, committed the same offence in 2017 in Sri Lanka, and got blacklisted in India on a charge of leaking government's confidential documents in the same year. Inspite of that the BRTA has finally given work order to MSP.
Media report in a national daily on Sunday said one Rahatur Rahman has been waiting for a smart driving licence for about nine months. He qualified for driving licence on December 30 last year and he was given licence delivery date on August 27. On arrival, he came to know that his licence would be issued on August 25, next year.  Actually he does not know how much time the BRTA will take to issue him smart driving card.
As reported, each day hundreds of people come to the BRTA office at Mirpur in the city. The picture is the same in other 57 of its regional offices across the country. According to the BRTA, there are 4,217,523 vehicles in Bangladesh, but there are 3,602,419 driving licences.
Until the government breaks long-established syndicate, punishes the corrupt BRTA officials and strengthens the organisation providing necessary manpower and technical supports, it will neither be able to reduce public harassments nor can ensure road safety. 

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