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No respite from illegal e-3-wheelers

Published : 18 Oct 2020 09:32 PM | Updated : 19 Oct 2020 12:47 AM

Getting patronization from a corrupt cycle involving police, local leaders and thugs, thousands of unauthorized commercially run electric three-wheelers like easy-bike and rickshaw have flooded the capital Dhaka.

When a large amount of money is behind such illegal deal, the authorities concerned hardly show any interest to take action for stopping plying of these illegal vehicles.

The number of battery-powered rickshaws and easy-bikes across the country is at least 1.7 million. Of these, battery-powered rickshaws and vans are almost 1 million. The remaining 7 lakh are easy-bikes. And in Dhaka, this number is more than 12 lakh. Of these, 10 lakh rickshaws and the remaining 2 lakh are easy-bikes.

At least a Tk 20 crore is being collected from these illegal vehicles every day. Local influential and ruling party leaders collect the money and a large part of the money is being received by the concerned police station, according to an investigation of the Bangladesh Post.

Auto-rickshaw drivers and owners said they have no problem to run on the road even though it is illegal according to the rules. Because on the one hand, just as they continue to 'manage' the leaders of the area, on the other hand, the police are also 'managed' who are supposed to take action against them on the road. If the auto-rickshaw movement stops, both these parties, the leaders and the police will lose a large amount of money. So it is not easy to stop auto-rickshaws.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Barrister Sheikh FazleNoor Taposhhas banned the use of easy-bikes and battery-powered rickshaws in all areas of DSCC. The campaign had also started on a limited scale from the 5th of this month. However, the operation has not yet started in many areas and these banned vehicles are running freelyas usual.

ADSCC official preferring anonymity that the operation to detain the banned vehicles has come to a standstill due to the illegal cable removal operation. Considering the importance of the people, the DSCC is conducting a cable removal operation.

“The DSCC has already asked for more magistrates to intensify the crackdown on banned easy-bikes and rickshaws. Hopefully, the joint operation will start very soon," he added.

According to the investigation, the drivers and owners of easy-bikes and battery-powered rickshaws are runningthese vehicles in Dhaka regularly by paying money. The amount is 20 to 30 crore Taka per month.

There are allegations that money is being shared between local leaders, thugs, terrorists, police and the traffic police in charge of the area. That is why no one is willing to close the source of this huge amount of money easily.

According to crime experts, if crime controllers indulge in crime, protesters have no choice but to be silent spectators. That is what is happening in the case of auto-rickshaws.

While moving around the spots--Mugda, Manda, Hazaribagh, Jigatla, Kamrangirchar, Dakshin Khan, Mohammadpur, Badda, Jurain, Jatrabari, ShanirAkhra, Demra, Basabo and Mothertech-- and talking to rickshaw pullers and owners in different areas, they said that the number of illegal three-wheelers is increasing day by day.

According to sources, banned rickshaws have to pay one to two thousand taka per month. In that case, even if a minimum of one thousand taka is collected from each of the two lakh rickshaws, 20 crore taka come from there. As such, transactions of two and a half to three and a half crore taka a year are taking place around these illegal vehicles. But not a single penny is being deposited to the state treasury.

Contacted with several senior police officials to find out about the deposit at the police station, none of them agreed to speak. However, a traffic police official said they had already received a directive from the Dhaka South City Corporation. Police have also started a drive to evict these illegal vehicles.