Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority is to extend its jurisdiction across the country under a new initiative to update and prepare rules and regulations to curb disorder on roads in the country.
Under the initiative, a proposal is on the cards for the first time to include penalty clauses for violating the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority Act, 2012, said officials.
Proposed by Road Transport and Highways Division under the road transport and bridges ministry, the act was on the discussion table since last year.
A consultant is currently working to prepare a draft of the law, proposed rules and two guidelines for traffic circulation and traffic safety for pedestrians.
Transportation, urbanisation and law experts welcomed the initiatives while at the same time they expressed doubt over the success of it as till now DTCA could not play any significant role in coordinating transport plans and improving the situation in Dhaka and its adjacent districts.
They suggested that the authorities empowered the DTCA with skilled manpower at first.
‘We have started a process to amend and prepare rules and regulations for the law for inclusion of penalty and other issues, besides making some issues prominent and clear,’ DTCA executive director Khandakar Rakibur Rahman told New Age on Sunday.
A proposal would also be placed to expand the jurisdiction of the authority, he added.
On August 29 this year, DTCA signed a contract with Infrastructure Investment Facilitation Company at the authority office for ‘preparing a draft updating the DTCA act and outline an organogram, rules and regulations and guideline.’
Cost of the consultancy service stands at Tk 81,53,040.
The authority mainly emerged in 1998 as Dhaka Transport Coordination Board and on September 2, 2012, it appeared with the present name under Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority Act, 2012, to prepare strategic transport plan and provide regular supervision and co-ordination for planning for all transportation infrastructure development works within Dhaka, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Mankganj, Gazipur and Narsingdi districts including the two city corporations of Dhaka.
The major functions and objectives of the DTCA are — develop and construct mass transit system, design, plan and construct bus rapid transit, assess traffic impact of buildings and housing projects, plan, coordinate and approve transport projects of other agencies, plan route networking for public transports, manage central fare collection and clearing houses.
Currently road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader is the chairman of the board of the authority.
Major decisions made at DTCA board meetings in the past years to develop mass transports through integrated transport planning did not materialise for lack of coordination among the agencies concerned.
Eying to end the stalemate, the consultant would prepare a draft updating the DTCA act based on current needs and addressing the recommendations from the road transport and bridges ministry. The authority would expect the consultant to produce a draft DTCA rules to fulfil the objectives, perform the functions mentioned in the law and prepare traffic circulation guideline and traffic safety guideline for pedestrians.
The service will also include review and revisit DTCA act including existing rules and regulations with a view to prepare rules, regulations, procedures and related operational guidelines, review similar documents of the government and analyse present organogram and propose a new one.
Professor Md Shamsul Hoque, former director of Accident Research Institute under Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, told New Age that DTCA could not perform its own duty as the other concerned government agencies did not pay heed to the suggestions made by this authority.
More responsibilities on its shoulders would make it more handicapped with existing structures while analysis of its performance was necessary to take any decision, he added.
Jahangirnagar University urban and regional planning department professor Akter Mahmud said that the proposal sounded good but currently the authority could not fulfil its responsibilities even after having minister Obaidul Quader as its board chairman.
For example, he said that the DTCA failed to coordinate with Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha for land use and transport plans till now.
‘So there will always be a doubt about the effectiveness of the initiative,’ he added.
Echoing the professor, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan member secretary, urbanisation and good governance, Iqbal Habib said that the proposed authority was necessary to ensure safety on road but there were little room for us to be hopeful since its current performance was inexcusable.
Road Safety Foundation vice-chairman Jyotirmoy Barua also said that the same authority did not succeed in fulfilling its duties in the capital till now.
Khandakar Rakibur Rahman said that as there were no clauses for penalty in the law, the authority could not punish the violators and could only resort to other authorities.
He said the process would reach a level of maturity in the next three months and the discussion on amendment of the law had started a year ago.
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