A policeman tears off the tinted sheet from the window of a sports car on Minto Road in the capital yesterday after the deadline for motorists to remove the tinted windows and screens from their vehicles ended on Saturday. Photo: Amran Hossain
Cases were filed against the owners of 973 vehicles while 106 cars were towed in the capital on the first day of the drive against using tinted glass in vehicles yesterday.
The drive comes as the deadline set by the home ministry to replace coloured, black and mercury glass fixed separately in cars and microbuses expired on Saturday.
However, it left as many as 80,000 vehicles, many of which are used by government offices, forces and other public offices, with built-in tinted glass out of its purview.
The driver of the sports car paying the Tk 1,250 fine. Photo: Amran Hossain
The ban on the use of black or tinted glass was ordered on April 30 in the wake of an abduction spree across the country. Vehicles with tinted windshields and glass were allegedly used in many of the abductions.
The Rapid Action Battalion, which is being widely blamed for the recent abduction and murder of seven people in Narayanganj, is still using vehicles with tinted glass.
State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the authorities had not ordered the removal of built-in tinted glass as many government officials, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence and diplomats used such vehicles. And it would be a huge task to replace the glass.
However, the ministry may order the removal of built-in glass as well, if deemed necessary, he told The Daily Star.
The vehicles that came under police action yesterday were mainly microbuses and sedans.
The owners of the vehicles were fined at least Tk 1,250 under the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1983, said traffic officials of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
In some cases, necessary documents of the vehicles with tinted glass were seized. The owners were asked to take back the documents after paying fines and changing the glass on their vehicles.
Mir Rezaul Alam, joint commissioner (traffic) of the DMP, said they would continue the drive until further instructions from the home ministry.
Police stops a sports utility vehicle with tinted windows. Photo: Amran Hossain
Habib Ullah Dawn, president of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicle Importers and Dealers Association (BARVIDA) estimates that there are at least 80,000 vehicles with built-in black and tinted glasses in the country. Most of these are microbuses, cars and jeeps.
These vehicles are used by government officials, businessmen and middle class people, he said.
The prices of transparent glasses have shot up due to a rush among the owners to replace tinted glasses of the vehicles.
Ahsan Habib, who works at a privately owned company, had to pay twice to get the glasses of his microbus replaced.
“It cost me Tk 50,000. Usually this job costs TK 20,000. As the demand has gone up, they have increased the price,” he said.
Vehicle owners also have urged the government to extend the deadline for changing tinted glasses.
"I have been searching for transparent glass for the last three days but haven't found yet. Police have already begun to harass me without even listening to my problem," said Rahat, who works at Onnorokom Group.
“The government should increase the deadline,” he said.