Beanibazar, a frontier upazila, is a thriving market for stolen and illegally imported Indian motorcycles.
The vehicles, costing between Tk 50,000 and Tk 90,000, are on high demand among the youth who roam the streets flaunting the latest models. These bikes are being used in criminal activities, illegal street racings and in political programmes, locals alleged.But the situation is improving as police are conducting drives across the upazila to seize illegal motorcycles. So far, 11 people have been arrested, sources said.
According to them, smugglers use several routes to bring in motorcycles from India.
In many cases, they said, parts of motorcycles are first smuggled into Beanibazar then assembled locally. These bikes of various models are sold for Tk 60,000 to Tk 1 lakh.
Locals say the number of illegal motorcycles in Beanibazar is so high that it is often very difficult to identify the stolen or illegal ones.
Several syndicates, involved in smuggling bikes, use Beanibazar as a safe market for buying and selling the illegal vehicles, locals allege.
They said illegal motorcycles of various Indian brands can be bought for half their market prices. Motorcycles in the 100 to 150/175cc segment usually cost between Tk 1 lakh to Tk 2.5 lakh without BRTA registration.
However, illegal motorcycles in this segment cost between Tk 50,000 and Tk 90,000 in Beanibazar.
Some of the buyers pay unscrupulous businessmen to collect buying and selling receipts.
The existing digital system prevents illegal motorcycles from being registered with the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).
Brokers or middlemen, active at the BRTA office, however, claimed that the illegal bikes can be registered through them. “It costs money,” one of them said.
BTRA officials declined to comment for this article.
Sub-Inspector Mohsin Kabir of Beanibazar Police Station said 11 men, aged between 20 and 28 years, were arrested recently with illegal bikes.
They have divulged the names of motorcycle thieves, and people involved in buying and selling of illegal two-wheelers.
Oboni Shankar Kar, officer-in-charge of Beanibazar Police Station, said their drives against illegal motorcycles will continue. “No-one will be spared,” he warned.