Impounded unfit buses
THE news that the traffic department of Dhaka Metropolitan Police is returning the previously seized unfit buses to their owners, because of lack of space in its dumping yard, is a bit disconcerting. The whole exercise was aimed at clearing the city roads of the old, faulty vehicles that cause both pollution and congestion. And now releasing them is certainly a self-defeating move.
Let's have a deeper look into the matter. The owners, claims the traffic department, had to pay fines and sign bonds that they would not run the dilapidated vehicles in the city any more. But they did get the permission to operate outside the capital. This sounds like slackening the grip of law for no good reason. If the ramshackle vehicles were deemed unfit for plying the city roads, how could they be safe for running in the districts or rural areas? It is like putting a different price tag on the lives of people who do not live in the city.
The traffic department should have carefully planned the drive against the old and unsafe vehicles. To begin with, they should not have impounded the large number of vehicles that could not be kept in their dumping yard due to lack of space. Any half-hearted, poorly executed drive against the vehicles overstaying on the roads should have been avoided. Now the issue remains alive, as owners get back the unfit vehicles. The law enforcers cannot perhaps guarantee that some of the released vehicles would not return to the city streets. This may have also given a handle for corruption to the cops.
The traffic department's release of the vehicle without ordering these off the streets effectively shows, once more, how a good initiative peters out due to poor planning. The plan of cracking down on the worn-out vehicles had everything that the citizens wish for, except that the law enforcers could not envisage the awkward situation that they found themselves in after seizing the vehicles.
We should heed the message implied in the failed attempt. The method should be straight and simplethe vehicles, that create all sorts of problems, must be shown the way to junkyard. No other solution is acceptable.