The demand for Bangladeshi drivers is high in some countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. But they are not able to apply for the jobs because of this negligence of BRTA. Many such drivers in the country are not getting jobs because they do not have a licence.
In 2018, road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader informed the Jatiya Sansad that the number of vehicles registered in the country is around 3.5 million (3,498,620). There are 1.8 million (1,879,618) drivers with driving licences. This means that almost half of the drivers do not have licences. The number of unregistered drivers has increased in the last two years.
While millions of people are waiting for licences for months, the BRTA is wasting time just to ensure its favoured companies get the contracts. Currently, a contractor firm named Tiger IT has been appointed to print the driver's licences. Their contract expires on the 22nd of this month.
In mid-2019, the World Bank blacklisted Oberthur and Tiger IT for nine-and-a-half years for alleged corruption in the Election Commission's (EC) smart card printing project. On 10 June 2019, BRTA invited tenders for the supply of 3.5 million smart cards. After several tenders and changes in terms and conditions, the Madras Printers finally reached an agreement, but they have not yet delivered the cards.
The applicants had to experience unbearable sufferings due to BRTA not making alternative arrangements for the interim period and not being able to hire new contractors quickly. It is an unforgivable offence to keep millions of people in misery and uncertainty in order to protect the interests of a certain quarter.
Earlier, Prothom Alo reported on BRTA under the headline 'Single organisation mysteriously gets all BRTA jobs.' Then the contracting company printed big advertisements in different newspapers and defended BRTA. They could not disprove any information reported in Prothom Alo, though.
The minister of roads and bridges makes statements about politics almost every day. He should also pay attention to how the institutions of his ministry are functioning and who are responsible for people’s indescribable sufferings.
Drivers should be given licenses and smart cards immediately.