Issuing of the much awaited digital or ‘smart’ driving license cards seems to be uncertain now due to some complicated processes, according to Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).
Officials said that the BRTA had repeatedly delayed flouting tenders to supply and print the driving licenses which apparently halted the process now. As a result of such complex delays, thousands of people seeking new driving licenses or renewing their licenses are suffering.
After waiting for a year to apply for a smart driving license, many drivers have not received smart driving license cards. They alleged that despite submitting the required documents, fees, photos and fingerprint, the smart driving license card is not issued. Even the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) officials cannot specifically mention when would they start issuing the smart cards.
The demand for smart license cards sharply rose after the nationwide protests for beterr road safety in 2018 and the announcement of the Road Safety Act. The Act has a provision of a Tk 5,000 fine for driving without a license, which is doubled for repeating the offence.
It is learned that each day hundreds of people crowd at the BRTA office at Mirpur in the capital. The picture is the same in other 57 of its regional offices across the country.
One of the victims is Kamrul Hasan, a resident of Bailley Road area of the capital who applied for his driving license in August last year. The license was supposed to be handed in January last. But so far, no news about issuing of the license.
Kamrul Hasan told the Bangladesh Post, “I am still not sure when would BRTA issue my license. It is very frustrating.”
In this regard, Mohammad Abdur Razzak, deputy director of the BRTA, said, “About nine lakh driving licenses are pending due to cancellation of contracts with the previous Tiger IT company as well as for corona situation. However, we are working hard to serve the customers.”
He said, “Earlier, Tiger IT had an agreement with BRTA. The company was blacklisted by the United Nations. Then on July 29 this year, we signed an agreement with Madras Security Printers Private Ltd (MSP) for the next five years. Hopefully, we will be able to start issuing smart driving licenses by mid-December this year.”
Shafiquzzaman Bhuiyan, assistant director at BRTA Mirpur office, told Bangladesh Post, “We are giving acknowledgment slips to customers from BRTA. It can be shown as a temporary driving permit while they drive vehicles on the road. The validity of such slip is mentioned on the paper. However, when the term of acknowledgment slip expires, we extend the term for another 1 year.”
Asked when would the smart driving license cards be available, Shafiquzzaman Bhuiyan said, “We have signed a five-year agreement with Madras Security Printers Private Ltd. The company will issue 400,000 driving license cards during this period. About 6,000 license cards will be issued every eight hours.”