HC declares battery-run rickshaws illegal

Staff Correspondent

The High Court on Thursday declared illegal battery-run rickshaws in Dhaka and Chittagong metropolitan cities.
A bench of Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar pronounced the verdict rejecting seven writ petitions filed by several rickshaws-van associations in Dhaka and Chittagong, seeking directives to allow battery-run rickshaws to ply the city streets.
Dhaka Zila Awami Rickshaw and Van Malik Samannoy Parshid general secretary Md Mostafa was among the seven writ petitioners.
In the verdict, the court observed that there was no scope to allow the battery-run rickshaws to ply the city roads as Dhaka City Corporations did not give the petitioners any licence to run them in the city.
The court rejected all the seven writ petitions as the city corporations in the court said that the law did not empower them to issue licence to run battery-run rickshaws.
The Traffic Control and Public Vehicle Bye law, 1973 has only empowered the corporations to issue licenses to pedaled rickshaws for carrying passengers, said the corporations.
After hearing the seven writ petitions, the bench in  February asked the Dhaka and Chittagong city corporations to dispose of in 60 days the applications of the writ petitioners seeking license to ply battery-run rickshaws in the cities.
The bench had also asked the authorities not to disturb the petitioners’ rickshaws in plying in 60 days.
The bench asked the corporations to explain why they would not be directed to dispose of the applications filed by the writ petitioners seeking license to play battery-run rickshaws in the cities.
Supreme Court lawyer Ruhul Quddus Kazal, who appeared for the Dhaka South City Corporation, told New Age that no battery-run rickshaws would be able to ply in Dhaka and Chittagong cities following the High Court verdict.
Writ petitioner Md Mostafa said that battery-run rickshaws started plying in the city several years ago paying bribe to the traffic police, but the running of rickshaws was suspended as the city corporations on April 6 rejected their applications seeking licenses for the rickshaws running in the cities.
Later, the rickshaws were being run following the High Court’s directive that those should not be disturbed for 60 days.
‘We wanted to run the battery-run rickshaws for the middle class commuters by giving the city corporations revenue, but neither the court nor the government permitted them to ply on the excuse of the law,’ he added.
Mostafa said that about 15,000 to 20,000 battery-run rickshaws were being run in Dhaka city corporations.
The number of unlicensed battery-run rickshaws increased in Dhaka, Chittagong city and many other districts causing accidents on a regular basis as their high speed does not match with the structure of the vehicle.
These rickshaws are operated by rechargeable batteries which consume lot of electricity.

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