Dhaka, September 12 (The New Nation) – Rickshaws are one of the most common, convenient and popular means of transport for the residents of Dhaka city since long. That is why Dhaka is called the city of rickshaws.
According to many private surveys, there are over 600,000 rickshaws including battery-run rickshaws running on city roads. Besides, Dhaka was in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most cycle rickshaws in 2015.
But recently unauthorised battery-run rickshaws or three-wheeler vehicles have been dominant on both major roads and lanes of the city especially during the lockdown of Covid-19 pandemic situation which created a big panic among the concerned society.
Mohammad Zonayed Alam, the driver of a battery-run rickshaw, was seen in city’s roads during Covid-19 pandemic situation. When asked about his income and profession, he said that he was a teacher of a Madrasha in Feni district.
But nowadays he drives a rickshaw in the capital city as his total income has ended for Coronavirus.
I have to deposit Tk 300 daily to rickshaws owner for it. In fact, it is a big challenge as people generally don’t come out of houses without an important task in this pandemic situation, Zonayed added.
It is learned that most of the battery-run rickshaws move in the city’s road very recklessly. That’s why frequent incidents take place which sometimes causes the life of the many passengers.
Joydeeb Chowdury, Deputy Commissioner of Traffic Police (Ramna Zone) said actually there is no permission for electric or battery-run rickshaws in the capital city. Many battery-run rickshaws are seen in the lanes and narrow roads. We generally consider them for that small lane and narrow roads. But we must take action if they come into the main or VIP roads as it doesn’t have permission to move, DC Joydeeb added.
When talked with Mehidi Hasan, Deputy Commissioner of Traffic Police (Lalbagh Zone), he said actually we are prompt to take action against battery-run rickshaws as they don’t have a license to drive in the city. As the part of initiatives many cases have been filed against them, DC Mehidi added.
Earlier in July 2019, the two city corporations in Dhaka decided to ban rickshaws on three major thoroughfares in an effort to address the problem of traffic congestion. These routes are Progoti Sarani from Kuril to Sayedabad via Rampura and Khilgaon; Mirpur Road from Gabtoli to Azimpur via Asad Gate; and Elephant Road from Science Laboratory Intersection to Shahbagh Intersection.
That sudden decision of the authorities had raised hue and cry among the people. Hence, banning rickshaws on three of the major routes of the city is a questionable decision, where no other secondary means of transportation has been provided yet.
It is mentionable that rickshaws are one of the biggest sources of employment in Bangladesh. Every year many people join the labour market, but there are not enough jobs for all of them. The situation is worse for those who are illiterate or do not have adequate educational qualifications for better-paying jobs. For these people, rickshaws are one of the most readily available jobs as it does not require any deposit, investment, lobbying or previous experience.