It is a matter of great concern that around 1.5 million applicants have been waiting for smart driving licences for over one year. After passing their driving tests, they have been crowding the offices of the smart card issuing at Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) across the country every day with hopes of acquiring the licences. But, every time, they keep returning home empty-handed. Now, the long wait for driving licences has become an irritating experience for the drivers. Ultimately, the BRTA has earned a bad name for its utter failure to provide the smart cards in time.
It has been learnt that some 1 million drivers are now driving vehicles with the BRTA-supplied 'acknowledgment slip.’ But, they are unable to apply for public and private jobs as they do not possess the smart cards. The drivers willing to be enlisted with the BRTA as ride-hailing service providers allege that they are facing problems with the interim licences. Moreover, the drivers who look for overseas jobs are suffering the most. As a consequence, the country itself has been missing the opportunities to export ‘skilled drivers’ aboard for the past two years. Taking advantage, other countries are filling up the vacant posts by sending drivers abroad. In this manner, the country is being deprived of precious foreign currency.
The deadlock in the smart driving license project developed following failure of the BRTA-employed vendor, Madras Security Printers (MSP) Limited, to deliver smart cards timely. An allegation is rife that the BRTA has ‘mysteriously’ got itself caught into the vicious circle of the Indian vendor which has been banned in its own country as well as in many other countries. Taking the allegation into cognizance, the government should find out the corrupt persons who are responsible for the irregularities and bring them to book. At the same time, the contract with the Madras-based vendor should be revoked by compelling it to compensate for the loss during the entire period.
Realising the sufferings of the drivers, the government must take appropriate measures by looking for a new smart driving license-manufacturing vendor to remove the bottleneck.