The longstanding harassment and practice of corruption in getting a driving licence and vehicle registration and fitness certificate is likely to end by this year as Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is fully digitising its manual service.
Currently, one has to visit BRTA offices with a money receipt and other necessary documents in order to get a driving licence, which creates a scope for corruption as the offices are crammed with brokers.
On the other hand, the practice of getting fake driving licences taking the advantage of the manual process would also stop because of the digitisation, opined BRTA officials.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) has already developed a data centre and a web portal for BRTA.
Visiting the BRTA Mirpur office in the capital recently, this correspondent saw a long queue of depositors in front of a bank inside the office. Brokers were trying to persuade people by offering various deals for respective services such as licences and vehicle registrations.
“It's painful. I've been waiting in the queue for around 30 minutes…,” alleged Jahir Uddin, who went there for a driving licence.
There was also a crowd of brokers surrounding the deposit collection booth, who impeded the progression of the queue purposefully.
“They do this so that out of frustration many will seek their help,” said Nazimuddin, another service seeker.
“You'll find brokers everywhere on the compound. It's difficult to seek help because you don't know who is a broker. Once they learn about your issue, they begin to follow you till the end,” he said.
Meanwhile, after paying the fees, applicants face another problem -- getting the medical certificates.
But the brokers have that one under control too. “Pay me Tk 200 and I'll get you a medical certificate,” said Hasan, a young boy outside the BRTA's Mirpur office.
Though the certificates are not genuine, it serves the purpose in most cases.
Contacted, Shitangsu Shekhar Biswas, director (operations), BRTA, said in the new digital service, one will be able to submit all the documents and pay fees online. “Once the application is submitted, people will be asked to appear for the licence or vehicle inspection on a specific date.”
The new system will be launched by the end of this month, he said. “After that, people will get quality service from BRTA easily.”