More than 4.58 lakh unfit vehicles are on the road and 1.68 lakh of them operate in the capital, according to a report of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).
The vehicles are among 40.18 lakh registered with the BRTA, the report submitted to the High Court yesterday said.
As per the law, all vehicles, except motorcycles, must have their fitness checked and their certificates renewed from the BRTA every year. According to the report, 13.91 lakh vehicles are required to have the fitness certificates renewed annually. The report did not mention anything about the high number of vehicles that were not registered with the BRTA.
Unfit vehicles are considered as a key reason behind road crashes. Road safety came to the fore after students took to the streets twice over the last one year demanding safer roads.
BRTA’s lawyer Moyeen Firozee submitted the report before the HC during the hearing on a suo moto rule the court issued earlier.
The HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam, receiving the report, asked the BRTA to submit a detailed report with more information on the unfit vehicles, including their registration numbers and owners, within a month.
The HC also asked the BRTA to include particulars of drivers who do not have valid driving licences and furnish a report explaining steps the BRTA took against unfit vehicles and drivers without valid licences.
The bench also exonerated Mahbub-E-Rabbani, director (road safety) of BRTA, from appearing before the court in person. Rabbani was in the court yesterday.
The court fixed July 23 for further hearing on the matter.
During the hearing yesterday, the HC bench observed that unfit vehicles were being driven by drivers without valid licences under the very nose of law enforcers.
People are dying and getting injured on the roads and this cannot be allowed to go on, it said.
Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder said accidents were happening as the officials concerned had not taken appropriate action to stop unfit vehicles from running and drivers without valid licences from driving.
The judge asked why some officials were indulging in corruption and receiving bribes when the government had doubled their salaries and other benefits.
Corruption must be removed from the country, he said.
“The country has been made independent 48 years ago with a dream that there will be no corruption in the country and rule of law will be established in the republic. If the rule of law is not established, the country will not be developed and cannot go forward,” Justice Nazrul said.
He said people would have to work honestly, sincerely and with patriotism.
“We urge the authorities concerned to awaken their conscience to bring discipline in transport management so that accidents do not happen,” he said.
The prime minister is working hard to bring discipline in every sector, the justice said.
Following a report published by The Daily Star on March 23, the HC bench on March 27 issued the suo moto rule asking the authorities concerned to explain as to why their inaction to stop unfit vehicles from running and drivers without valid licences from driving should not be declared illegal.
Supreme Court lawyer Syed Mamun Mahbub had read out the newspaper report before the court. As per the report headlined “No fitness docs, yet running”, more than 70,000 vehicles had not had their fitness certificates renewed in 10 years, and many of them were on the road.
In the rule, the court had asked why directives should not be given to implement the relevant laws, including the Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983. It also asked authorities concerned to submit a report before it on unfit vehicles, vehicles that are not registered with the BRTA and drivers without valid licences.
Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik appeared for the state.