Friday, June 14, 2024

80,000 unfit cars causing traffic snarl, environ hazards

Around 80,000 unfit cars are plying the streets of Dhaka city in violation of the set laws and have been causing severe traffic congestion and environmental hazards, reports BSS.
The BRTA [Bangladesh Road Transport Authority] are running only two mobile courts led by two executive magistrates to take actions against the huge unfit transports, sources said.
A survey of Dhaka Urban Transport Projects (DUTP) revealed that private cars carry 8.73 percent of total commuters occupying 34.41 percent space of the road.
With the population growing in the city, motorized vehicles are also on the rise. It is estimated that about 100 used or new motorized vehicles are entering the Dhaka roads every day covering only about 6 percent of the city area.
At present, more than 5 lakh motor vehicles ply in Dhaka city alone, of them, over 2 lakh are cars. A large number of cars park illegally on the roadside to aggravate the nagging congestion.
Joint Commissioner of Traffic Manzur Kader Khan said parking on the road causes serious traffic congestion in different the areas of city.
Nearly 50 percent of vehicles plying the roads in the capital do not have fitness certificates and are causing serious environmental hazards to Dhaka, a senior official of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) told BSS.
The owners of unfit vehicles manage to receive certificates from the BRTA in connivance with a section of dishonest officials, sources said.
According to a World Bank report, Air pollution kills 15,000 Bangladeshis each year. Air pollution levels in Dhaka are considerably higher than the limit mentioned in the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for residential areas.
According to a study of WHO, blood lead level above 10 g/dl (microgram per deciliter) is considered to be a case of lead poison.
However, the lead level in the country”s urban children was 5.8 to 21.6 g/dl, and the urban slum children”s lead level ranged from 9.6 to 38.9 g/dl — three times more than the acceptable level.
The report says the country could save between US $ 200 million and 800 million a year — about 0.7 to 3.0 percent of its gross national product — if air pollution in its four major cities can be reduced. According to Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), a record 54,544 new and reconditioned cars were sold in Dhaka up to last year, up 50 percent from the previous five years.
BRTA sources said a record 16,944 new and reconditioned cars were sold in Dhaka last year, up 46 percent from 2008. Transport and urban development experts shudder at the explosion of car sales in the city of more than 12 million people, already notorious for its traffic congestion.
“Such a huge growth in car sales has already started to take a heavy toll on the capital. Traffic jams are getting bigger and lasting longer. Already we spend over three hours a day in jams,” said Iqbal Kabir, a transport expert, adding: “Dhaka”s traffic system is heading for total breakdown.”
“Car sales in the capital hit an all-time high in 2009. It”s more than twice the number of cars sold in 2007,” said a senior official of BRTA.
Authorities said car sales averaged 5,000 to 6,000 annually for more than a decade until 2006. Car traders said the availability of easy financing had helped fuel the record- breaking sales run since 2006.
“Some 90 percent of the cars we sell are being financed by private banks” consumer financing programmes.
Thanks to easy credit, even middle income people can now afford cars,” said Ahmed Kabir, an owner of car shop.
“In addition, banks, big corporate houses give interest-free loans to employees to buy cars. It”s also now the most-frequently used carrot to lure the mid-managers,” he said.
Urban planner Prof Nazrul Islam described the rise in car sales as frightening and lamented that the capital city does not have a mass transport system like a metro rail, commuter trains or even a fleet of taxis.
Dhaka does not even have adequate footpaths for pedestrians, forcing people to hire rickshaws for the smallest rides, he said.
The government needs to take urgent steps to save the city from total chaos, he added.

Courtesy of BSS via The News Today

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