Despite a ban, locally designed Nasimon, Korimon, Bhatbhati and CNG-run auto-rickshaws are plying on different busy highways across the country, including on Dhaka-Chattogram, Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways, causing road crashes and casualties.
On Wednesday, seven people, including six members of a family, were killed when a truck rammed a CNG-run auto-rickshaw in Lakshmipur Sadar upazila.Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader admitted recently that the number of deaths in road accidents was increasing due to the plying of three-wheelers on highways.
The road transport and bridges ministry earlier imposed a ban on the movement of three-wheeler and non-motorized vehicles on 22 national highways on August 1, 2015, in the wake of a spate in road accidents on the highways due to the increasing presence of these vehicles.
Currently, CNG or petrol-run auto-rickshaws have permission from Bangladesh Road Transport Authority to run on some city roads, but not on the highways.
BRTA data, prepared based on police’s first information reports, show that in 2017, a total of 2,513 people were killed and 1,898 injured in 2,562 accidents.
In 2016, the number of road accidents was 2,566, that of deaths 2,463 and that of injured people 2,234, the data show.
Despite recent student protests for safe roads, the transport sector in the capital and elsewhere in the country is yet to be disciplined.But the traffic department of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) said they launched a massive drive against the traffic rule violators in the capital.
DMP Joint commissioner (south) Mofij Uddin said, “We are now more serious about establishing discipline in the city streets.”
“As part of our drastic efforts, we continued massive drives against traffic rule violations in different parts of the capital,” the joint commissioner added.
Last month, at least six people, including two women were killed and two others injured when a bus rammed a CNG-run auto-rickshaw at Lemua area on Dhaka-Chattogram highway in Feni.
All the victims were the passengers of the auto-rickshaw including its driver.
Abdul Awal Chowdhury, in-charge of Highway Police outpost, said the tragic accident occurred when a speedy bus of Shyamoli Paribahan hit the auto-rickshaw while it was crossing Dhaka-Chattogram highway.
Besides, a head-on collision between a passenger bus and a human-haulier killed 15 people in Natore recently.
Transport workers from different districts have alleged that these vehicles operate on national highways paying monthly ‘token’ money to political leaders, police and administration.
When contacted, Atiqul Islam, deputy Inspector general (DIG) of highway police, said, “We are continuing drives against illegal and slow-moving vehicles on different highways across the country.”
“Due to our strict monitoring, movement of almost of all such unfit and ban vehicles has already been stopped on highways. But some of these vehicles are plying secretly,’ he added.