An auto-rickshaw costs Tk 375,000, but in Dhaka it takes Tk 1.8 million just to register it, and in Chittagong Tk 1.2 million. That is sheer robbery!
The transport sector is rife with corruption, irregularities, mismanagement and disorder. Exploiting the buyers by charging steep fees for renewing baby taxi registration, is just once instance of the rampant corruption.
The problem began during the rule of the BNP government when old auto-rickshaws were abolished and permission was given to import CNG-run baby taxies. In 2004, import of baby-taxies came to a halt due to corruption. In 2015, BRTA (Bangladesh Road Transport Authority) approved of around 2000 auto-rickshaws to replace Mishuks. But registration of these was halted too due to corruption. After that, the registration of the vehicles of the same owners was renewed.
While the initiative to run environment-friendly vehicles was laudable, it was ruined by corruption and the public bore the brunt. In 2002, baby taxies worth Tk 200,000 were sold for Tk 400,000 to Tk 500,000. Those involved in the scam are no longer in power. But while power changes, corruption and irregularities do not. The registration charges are much higher now and it is the public that suffers. The owners and drivers simply charge higher fare to meet the registration costs. The government-fixed fare rates are no followed.
If BRTA is not giving approval for registration of new baby taxies, then why is it approving imports? A section of baby taxi owners and leaders of the transport owners and workers association, associated with the ruling party, are involved in these manipulations. Corrupt BRTA officials are also making money on the side.
There is corruption in all facets of BRTA and the people suffer. They have to pay bribes for drivers’ licences and other clearance certificates. Even the road transport and bridges minister has expressed his ire at the situation.
The chaos that runs through BRTA must be clamped down upon. And end must be brought to this uncontrolled corruption.