Monday, April 22, 2024

Traffic chaos reigns in city

The traffic system in the capital is in a shambles with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police failing to cope with the situation which has turned alarming with deadly road accidents taking place almost every day and tailbacks growing longer.
Like the previous year, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police has decided to take a number of measures, including closure of schools to keep the traffic manageable in the month of Ramadan when the situation generally turns for the worse.
The home ministry has already decided to request the education ministry to declare a month-long Ramadan vacation in all educational institutes in order to ease traffic in the capital before Eid.
The home minister, Sahara Khatun, also admitted in a meeting on Thursday that traffic congestions had turned alarming and could become unmanageable in Ramadan.
Inspector general of police Hasan Mahmud Khandaker also told New Age that it would be difficult for the police to cope with the situation in Dhaka in the Ramadan.
‘It is almost impossible to discipline traffic and ease congestions as the number of vehicles are increasing rapidly choking the roads,’ he said.
He also said drivers were largely responsible for the chaotic situation as they did not cooperate with the police to bring discipline to the traffic movement.
‘The city is growing without plan. Every day new vehicles are being registered but the road network is not expanding. We are trying to enforce new traffic rules but it is very difficult to do so as most drivers do not abide by them,’ he said.
DMP joint commissioner (traffic) Mahbubur Rahman told New Age that they had drafted a plan for bringing discipline to traffic in Dhaka and would discuss it in a meeting of the DMP next week.
Mahbubur Rahman also admitted that the police had failed to discipline traffic in the city even after several drives.
The traffic department of DMP has failed to implement any of the rules, including use of seatbelts by drivers and passengers, and ban on use of mobile phones while driving.
Besides, the police also failed to enforce lane discipline in the city roads even after a massive campaign during last Ramadan.
Alongside the traffic police, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority would conduct drives against unfit and unregistered vehicles through six mobile courts from next week.
BRTA director (administration) Tapan Kumar Sarker told New Age that mobile courts would start operating next week against unfit vehicles. 
He urged the police to be more active in bringing discipline to traffic in city. ‘What we can do is assist the police,’ he said.
People on motorbikes without helmets and drivers in cars and buses without seatbelts are a common sight in the city. They seem to care little about the law.
Drivers also seem undeterred by the ban on the use of mobiles and most pedestrians continue to avoid using footbridges and underpasses and instead prefer the risk of jaywalking.
The number of road traffic accidents in Dhaka has increased over the past two weeks claiming 28 lives in the first 14 days of July while 27 people were killed in June.
An attempt early in 2010 to remove worn-out buses, trucks and other vehicles from the city roads also failed, allegedly because of a nexus between the police and transport operators.
According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, about 13,778 vehicles registered in the Dhaka metropolitan cit area are between 20 and 25 years old. Among them, there are 8,125 trucks, 1,842 vans, 1,446 buses and 2,365 mini-buses.
A move in September 2010 to get cars remove additional bumpers which often cause major accidents on roads also proved futile.
Officials at the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, official transport regulator, said that all motorised vehicles were required to have seatbelts attached to them by October 31, 2010 and that mobile courts operated across the country from November 1 to ensure the order was complied with by the drivers.
Traffic police officials said they did not have enough manpower to ensure that people stopped talking over cell phones while driving.

-With New Age input

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