Drive against unfit vehicles
Make it a regular phenomenon
On November 10, the BRTA with police assistance cracked down on unfit vehicles plying Dhaka city roads. According to BRTA data, some 350,000 vehicles are operating in the country without fitness certificates, 93,000 in Dhaka city alone.
While we wholeheartedly welcome this crackdown against vehicles, including public transports, that have not bothered to take fitness certificates, we remain sceptical as to whether a summary drive will achieve desired results. With many buses staying off the road altogether, all the drive managed to do was add to the woes of some 15 million residents of the capital.
The crux of the problem is that the laxity with which police treats the issue of enforcing regulations with regard to vehicles carrying proper documents has given rise to a sense of impunity. And it is not merely a question of fitness only; rather the issue of fake licenses too must be addressed.
When one takes into account that unscrupulous drivers and owners of vehicles can buy their way out of a sticky situation with speed money, the whole purpose of making vehicle owners adhere to the rule of law turns futile. It is interesting to note that since the beginning of this clampdown, BRTA has received some 800 applications to regularise fitness certificates.
The drive should not be a one-off matter. Rather it should be regular phenomenon, and only when police and BRTA authorities get serious about checking these anomalies on a regular basis will attitudes change for the better.