Vehicle owners surprised at govt’s unilateral decision
The government has made installation of Global Positioning System (GPS) mandatory in all vehicles as part of an initiative to prevent car jacking and track fleeing vehicles from road crashes.
The decision came at an inter-ministerial meeting on road safety held at the Secretariat yesterday.
GPS entails an electronic device installed in a vehicle to enable the owner or a third party to track the vehicle’s location through satellite.
“All trucks, covered vans, private cars and CNG-run auto-rickshaws must have the GPS unit for knowing their location while plying,” Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder told The Daily Star.
On the outcome of the meeting, the home secretary said the decision has been taken so that the incidents of carjacking could be minimised and the vehicles, which would flee after killing or injuring people from road accidents, could be located.
However, a number of vehicle users have disagreed with the government’s decision.
“It depends on me whether I would use the GPS or not. The government cannot enforce it,” said a car owner seeking anonymity.
Some others opined that the introduction of GPS could bring different result if any group uses the technology with an ill motive.
Any criminal group can find the location a person, to whom they want to harm, through tracking his/her vehicle, they observed.
Another car user alleged that the decision of introduction of the GPS in all vehicles might be the brain child of a sector of businessmen and some high-ups of the government, who want to earn brisk profit from the technology.
According to the sources of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), there are around 15 lakh registered vehicles across the country.
Several companies are already installing the GPS facilities in vehicles and monitoring their operation in a narrow scale in the capital and also in some other cities, they said.
Additional Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque said, “There are always some criticisms against any decision for the welfare of the people.”
“Every month, around 50 to 60 vehicles are stolen or hijacked in the capital. If the system is implemented, the incident of carjacking will be reduced”, he said.
Talking to The Daily Star, Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder said it would cost Tk 10,000 to 12,000 to install a GPS unit in any vehicle and the user will have to pay Tk 300 to 500 per month to the GPS service provider company to operate and monitor the system.
Asked about the date of implementation of the decision, the home secretary said “It is yet to be decided from when the decision will be enforced and which companies would be allowed to operate and monitor the system.”
He said all drivers and helpers must have to submit their resume along with photographs to the owners of vehicles.
After the meeting, Home Minister Sahara Khatun told reporters that a syndicate is involved in hijacking goods-laden trucks in the country. “A crackdown on the syndicate will be launched soon,” she added.
She also asked Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain to take necessary steps to start repair works on Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka Mymensingh highways.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan, State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku and leaders of the Trucks and Bus Owners Association were present at the meeting.
-With The Daily Star input