RAJSHAHI, May 03: Battery-driven auto-rickshaws (easy bikes) and two-seated rickshaws have become the main reasons of city traffic jam.
Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) was issuing those rickshaws trade licences as non-mechanical vehicles. RCC was also issuing licences for the drivers. Meanwhile, BRTA was claiming those autorickshaws as mechanical vehicles like those of auto-tempos and demanded only the BRTA has the authority to issue licences of those vehicles.
The issue was also raised at the recent monthly co-ordination meeting regarding law and order of the district where decision was taken to issue a letter to RCC demanding explanation how RCC was issuing licenses of those three wheelers. Moreover, decision was also taken to stop plying of those vehicles through city streets and to conduct a drive against those vehicles jointly by police, BRTA and RCC. But, the decision has not yet been implemented.
According to sources, on December-10 last year, Rajshahi district administration issued a letter to BRTA to implement the decision of the meeting. Following the letter, ASM Kamrul Hasan, Assistant Director, BRTA, issued a letter to RCC to follow government rules in case of issuing of licenses of auto-rickshaws and easy bikes. In this connection, ASM Kamrul Hasan informed, there is a clear direction from the government to issue licenses of any vehicles by BRTA. But RCC still remained reluctant to take any measure in this connection.
Meanwhile, the license section of RCC informed, so far RCC has issued licenses to 8,862 easy bikes and 8,400 two-seated auto-rickshaws in the city. Moreover, around 6,000 drivers of those vehicles were also issued licenses from RCC authorities. However, no new licences of those vehicles are being issued by RCC from December last but new vehicles were moving through the city streets daily.
Earlier, in September 2015, registrations of two seated, battery operated auto-rickshaws were cancelled by RCC. But, now nearly 40,000 easy bikes and battery-operated rickshaws are plying the city streets.
There is allegation that many auto-rickshaws and easy-bikes were running by showing fake licenses and by forging the duplicate number. It is also alleged that a section of dishonest employees of RCC. Importers of the vehicles and sellers of those were involved in such malpractice.
RCC sources said, a one year tenure license fees of an easy bike was Tk. 2,500 while renewal fees of the same was Tk 1,500 per year. The yearly license fees of battery-driven rickshaws was Tk 500 and the renewal fees was Tk 50.
RCC has realised Tk 21.5 million up to March of the current fiscal year from the license fees of those vehicles. Earlier in 2016-2017 fiscal year, the income from the sector was Tk 16 million. Meanwhile, in 2016, RCC declared to stop plying of two-seated auto-rickshaws through the city streets but due to political pressure, the decision could not be implemented.
Owners and drivers of those vehicles informed, being profitable and popular, the number of easy bikes and auto-rickshaws was continually in increase in the city. There was also unabated sell of those vehicles in the city markets.
Mahbubur Rahman, Commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, said due to inactivity of RCC, the movement of easy bikes through the street could not be controlled fully.
Mosaddeque Hossain Bulbul, mayor of RCC, said RCC was preparing a regulation to control traffic jam and to resume order in movement of vehicles through city streets. He hoped, after implementation of the regulation, there will be no more problem regarding movement of those vehicles in the city. RCC Mayor further mentioned, since the vehicles were using roads and streets of RCC and the drivers of those vehicles are needed to be identified, RCC was issuing licenses for those. He further said, with the implementation of construction of 132 km-long new road and repairing and broadening of the city streets at a cost of Tk 1.73 billion and turning all busy city streets into four-lane within 2019, there will be no jam of vehicles in the city streets.
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