Commercial Vehicles: 74,000 set to go under crushers
Over 74,000 registered buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles are past their economic lifespan set by the government.
According to a circular issued by the Road Transport and Highways Division (RHD) earlier this month, these vehicles will have to be scrapped now.
At least 36,123 buses and minibuses are past their 20-year economic life while 38,123 trucks, lorries and tankers are past their 25-year life, according to BRTA data.
Such vehicles account for over one-fourth of the total 2.83 lakh commercial vehicles registered with the BRTA as of April.
Although the government set the economic life of commercial vehicles, a guideline on scrapping them has yet to be finalised. The gazette setting the economic life has not been published either.
Nevertheless, the authorities said they would start dumping these vehicles once the gazette is published.
However, BRTA officials still do not know where to dump the vehicles and for how long the vehicles should be kept in their custody.
Apart from finalising the guideline, the authorities will have to hire contractors to scrap the outdated vehicles. This is why the authorities are not able to tell when the process of scrapping will start.
The RHD set the economic life of commercial vehicles with an aim to improve road safety and reduce pollution.
As of April, 81,424 buses, minibuses and 2,01,976 trucks, lorries and tankers are registered with the BRTA.
Of these, 74,246 are expired, meaning 26.20 percent of these vehicles are outdated, according to BRTA data.
BRTA officials believe many of the vehicles are no longer on the streets as some of them were registered even before the Liberation War.
"We assume that around half of the outdated vehicles are not running now," BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder told The Daily Star yesterday, adding that the number of those in operation would still be big and there was no alternative to scrapping them.
The division has also prepared a draft guideline for scrapping old vehicles.
The draft mentions that no vehicle owner will be able to register a new vehicle if they own a vehicle that has gone past its economic life.
According to the draft Motor Vehicle Scrapping Guideline-2023, the government will be outsourcing the job of vehicle scrapping to enlisted private firms that will carry out the task under the BRTA supervision.
However, questions have been raised about the rationale of setting economic life without approving the scrapping guideline and hiring a firm to scrap the vehicles.
The BRTA will try to finalise the draft as soon as possible, said its chairman, adding that hiring a vendor would take some more time.
There is a scarcity of scrapyards in Dhaka and Chattogram.
Officials said the draft guideline and the circular contained some discrepancies regarding the way private vendors would be hired. These issues should be fixed before scrapping of vehicles starts, they said.