The High Court yesterday asked the authorities concerned to identify the reasons behind the mismanagement in monitoring and maintaining the capital’s traffic lights and submit a report to it in 30 days.
An HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman also issued a rule asking why the inaction of authorities concerned regarding the mismanagement should not be declared illegal.
The HC Bench was hearing a writ petition filed by lawyers Manoj Kumar Bhowmick and Sulaiman Howlader.
Secretaries of the home and local government ministries, inspector general of police, commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police and chief executive officers of Dhaka’s two city corporations were asked to respond to the rule.
During the hearing, Manoj told the court that accidents, causing casualties, were taking place in the capital, because of the faulty traffic management. And therefore, people’s constitutional right to life was being violated.
He prayed that the authorities concerned be given necessary orders to address the mismanagement in the traffic lights.
The petitioners submitted the public interest litigation on Thursday, based on a report published in The Daily Star on January 12 with the headline, “Unutilised Traffic Lights: Money wasted, streets made dangerous”.
Between 2002 and 2005, a total of 68 traffic lights were set up at the cost of Tk 13.6 crore under the Dhaka Urban Transport Project, funded by the World Bank. The first two sets of lights were installed at Gulshan-1 and -2 intersections. But in a 2006 report, the WB mentioned that the system had become defunct due to poor maintenance.
Under the Clean Air and Sustainable Environment project that ended in March 2019, Tk 112 crore -- also funded by the WB -- was spent between 2010 and 2018 to repair and install 100 traffic lights and other intersection infrastructure.
The city corporations handed the lights over to Dhaka Metropolitan Police, but the latter does not have any monitoring and maintenance capacity.
Traffic police control vehicles and pedestrians with hand gestures at most intersections in the capital.