Wednesday, 27 March, 2019

Owners desperate to expand lifetime of three-wheelers

Published on: 10:05 am - Saturday | March 10, 2018

The recent recommendation of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), which binned further expansion of the lifetime of 15 years old CNG-run auto-rickshaws, have flared up agitation among the three-wheeler owners. According to the recommendation, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) will pull off the old three wheelers from the streets by the end of March. But the owners demand 3-year further lifetime expansion, and threatened strike in default.

The owners had been demonstrating with six-point-demand seeking more six years lifetime expansion. On the backdrop of the agitation, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges sought BUET’s recommendation. The institution on Tuesday last said 77 percent auto-rickshaws are “too poor to ply”. Considering BUET’s report the ministry on Wednesday last directed BRTA to replace the mini-vehicles in Dhaka and Chittagong.

BRTA Chairman Md Moshiar Rahman said they already have initiated the replacement. According to the existing arrangement, the owners will have new auto-rickshaws with the same registration numbers. However, BRTA could not specify whether the lifetime expired CNG auto-rickshaws-5,561 in Dhaka and 2,863 in Chittagong-will be totally pulled off by April 1.

The regulatory body said the owners have to apply for replacement and to get permission for new vehicles. Meantime, Auto-Rickshaw Owners Association President Barkat Ullah Bulu speculated the BUET result and said only 36 samples from 26,652 might have biased the findings. Seeking further three-year lifetime expansion, he spelled tougher movement. He believes the government would not return them empty handed on the last year of their current term.

A quarter of the owners and drivers passed very busy time since last six months. They collected Tk 2.6 crore last year and reportedly bribed BRTA and other pro-government organizations to take the BUET result in their favor.
“We are not opposing replacement of the old vehicles. However, the process should prioritize the drivers and workers,” said General Secretary of Road Transport Workers Federation Osman Ali.

The BUET report also shaded light on cost management. “If a single old three-wheeler gets three-year economic life expansion, the estimated expenditure is Tk 1.6 lakh. On the other hand, buying new vehicles for replacement will cost around Tk 4.10 lakh,” BUET report said adding: “Further lifetime expansion would not benefit economically.”

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