Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), Chattogram has taken an initiative to scrap 5,400 CNG-run auto-rickshaws that are at least 15 years old, and plying the port city roads.
BRTA already dismantled 107 three-wheelers by Thursday. The drive began on Monday and the authorities plan to dismantle at least 100 vehicles per day.
But the turnout was low as only 26 percent vehicles, scheduled to be scrapped, showed up at BRTA office during the first four days till Thursday.
On the first day, 33 vehicles were scrapped while 19 and 22 were dismantled on the next two days.
Though the turnout increased on Thursday, the authorities could scrap 33 vehicles out of 55, as they were unable to verify the chassis and engine numbers due to their worn-out conditions, informed Sohel Rana, BRTA executive magistrate. He said the drive will continue till May.
BRTA Deputy Director Mohammad Shahidullah said new dates would be assigned if the stipulated number of vehicles could not be scrapped within schedule.
He said they were expecting to scrap 2,000 vehicles within first 20 days. As precaution, the authorities are keeping cylinders of scrapped vehicles, he said.
Though they have declared to issue registration numbers for new vehicles in no time, auto-rickshaw owners, whose vehicles had already been scrapped, are yet to apply for it, he added.
Jalal Sheikh, an auto-rickshaw driver, told The Daily Star that the company he works for had two vehicles but the owner was planning to buy one after those were scrapped. “New vehicles are faster and run on less gas. Why would the owner buy two vehicles?” said Jalal at BRTA.
Mentionable, around 150 owners did not apply for registration after BRTA conducted a similar drive last year.
Besides, 101 vehicles, scheduled to be dismantled in 2018, did not respond to the drive and are still on the road, informed BRTA officials. Last year, BRTA took an initiative to dismantle 2,885 three-wheelers.
The authorities later ordered owners of those 101 vehicles to show proper reason, said BRTA Inspector Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury. “Only 25 owners responded. We're trying to give them a chance by assigning new dates, but they are yet to respond.”
Ziaul Haque Mir, BRTA executive magistrate, said they were conducting regular drives to seize illegal vehicles.
The economic life of an auto-rickshaw is 15 years. Around 13,000 registered auto-rickshaws are plying the port city roads.