Can't care less | Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 21, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:28 AM, May 21, 2018

Couldn't care less

Car owners show little interest to go for fitness tests; only 16 vehicles renew their licences within Apr 30 deadline

The government call for renewing motor vehicles' fitness certificates largely went in vain as owners of only 16 out of over 56,000 vehicles that did not obtain the certificate in more than a decade responded within the deadline of April 30.

Registrations of the remaining 56,410 vehicles have been revoked after the deadline passed. Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is preparing to take more actions, officials said.

As per law, a vehicle must go through fitness tests every year to renew the certificate needed to ply the streets legally.

“We are now counting how much dues we have with each and every vehicle and then, we will go for legal procedure to realise the dues,” BRTA Director (operation) Sitanghsu Shekhar Biswas told The Daily Star yesterday.

BRTA on March 29 published two lists of “fitness defaulters” on its website--one of government vehicles and the other of private ones.

Over 3,740 vehicles belonging to different ministries and government agencies are in the list. Police have topped the list with around 1,000 vehicles.

Fitness certificates of a total of 52,686 vehicles, owned by individuals, non-government educational institutions and commercial organisations, have expired, it said.

The authorities had asked the owners to renew the fitness certificates by April 30. Otherwise, the vehicles would be declared “write-offs”, meaning their registration would be cancelled.

The BRTA circulated the “public interest notice” in the media, but the owners of only 16 vehicles responded within the deadline, said Nurul Islam, BTRA director (engineering).

A number of BRTA officials, however, think many of those vehicles are no longer in use. This also suggests the state agency does not have any data on the vehicles that are no longer used.

Asked, Sitanghsu Shekhar said the owners were asked to inform the BRTA if their vehicles were no longer on the road. “But, nobody has informed us.”

Registrations of those vehicles have been revoked, but the owners must pay the dues, he said.

He added they were estimating the dues and would send a list to every BRTA circle office to realise the amounts.

The BRTA would hand the list of those vehicles over to police so that none of the vehicles can be operated, he added.

Asked, Additional Deputy Inspector General (Transport) of Police AKM Hafiz Akhter said they had taken steps to renew fitness certificates of police vehicles.

“We have taken a decision in principle to address the issue,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.

Asked why the initiative was not taken before the BRTA deadline passed, he said, “Our vehicles are being used on government duties. What is the point of cancelling registration of these vehicles? We will look into the issue.”

The Daily Star could not reach Munshi Shahabuddin Ahmed, transport commissioner of the Department of Government Transport, over phone.

BACKGROUND

On August 29 last year, BRTA issued a notice, which was published on several newspapers, saying that under section 47 of the ordinance, it was mandatory to renew vehicles' fitness certificate every year.

According to BRTA database, a significant number of owners did not renew the fitness certificates of their vehicles in the past 10 years, the notice read.

Against this backdrop, BRTA urged the owners to renew the fitness certificates and inform them about their permanently damaged or already unusable vehicles.

The notice said the BRTA would cancel registrations of those vehicles after December 31, 2017, considering those were either permanently damaged or unusable. The deadline was extended later.

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