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No joint venture yet for bus route franchise

Motijheel-Ghatarchar route buses under one company yet to take off

Shahin Akhter | Published: 23:50, Jan 17,2021 | Updated: 23:53, Jan 17,2021

 
 

A joint venture company that would bring all buses running on Motijheel-Ghatarchar (Mohammadpur) route in the capital under a pilot project is yet to be formed while the deadline expires tomorrow.

Though the project was slated for an April 2020 launch, the company was not formed till Sunday though the authorities asked for its formation before Tuesday, which is tomorrow, when the 15th meeting of the Bus Route Rationalisation committee is scheduled to be held.

Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority officials said that Dhaka Road Transport Owners’ Association got the responsibility to form the company while the association leaders said that they do not know about this.

The transport leaders claimed that buses on this route would run as usual.

Additionally, the list of bus companies and owners provided by Bangladesh Road Transport Authority does not match with the list provided by the bus owners’ association.

The plan for rationalisation of bus routes was drawn up in 1997 and it was taken up by the late Dhaka North City Corporation mayor, Annisul Huq, after he was elected mayor in 2015.

After his death in 2017, the then Dhaka South City Corporation mayor, Sayeed Khokon, was made the chairman of the Bus Route Rationalisation committee and on September 27, 2018, he declared that he would make roads safer and free from congestion in two years.

At the 13th committee meeting held last year, headed by the current DSCC mayor, Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, a decision was taken to bring all Dhaka city buses under nine clusters and 22 companies on 42 routes. 

On December 8, 2020, at the 14th meeting he said that the franchise system would be introduced on a pilot basis on Motijheel-Ghatarchar route from April 2021 and before the next committee meeting on January 19, the owners would sign a joint venture agreement to form a company.

DTCA traffic engineer Md Anisur Rahman told New Age on Sunday that he was not aware about the formation of the joint venture company for the pilot project as the responsibility lies with the bus owners’ association.  

Dhaka Road Transport Owners Association general secretary Khandakar Enayet Ullah told New Age on Sunday that no company was formed till the filing of this report at 4:30pm on Sunday.

‘Under this pilot project no new company will be registered while buses will run under the existing companies,’ he said, adding that no authorities concerned informed them about the formation of such a company.

‘I do not oppose the pilot initiative but I think that we should focus on the main project,’ he said.

Meanwhile for the pilot project, the BRTA has already provided a list of the bus companies running on Motijheel-Ghatarchar route to the DTCA.

As per the list, 165 buses were running on the route under Meskat-2 Transport Company, Superior Bus Owners’ Association, Rajdhani Express, Rajacity Paribahan, Metropolitan Bus Service, Maitree Paribahan, Lockwood Paribahan, Fateh Transport Company and Kamal Plus Paribahan companies.

DRTOA leader Enayet Ullah claimed that currently none of these companies were running buses on this route.

As per their list, at present 207 buses owned by a total of 94 owners are running under Rajanigandha Transport, Midline Paribahan and Malancha Paribahan on the route.

‘Why do we expect that this pilot project would be successful when everything is being run according to the current haphazard system,’ asked a senior association leader, adding, ‘This pilot project is bound to fail.’ 

‘As per our database there are 165 buses running on the route while in reality these buses are not found on the roads,’ said a senior BRTA official.

He alleged that after taking out route permits under one company, the association leaders demanded money from bus owners offering those permits to them and, usually, when such deals fall through other bus owners are sought.

BRTA chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder told New Age on Thursday that their executive magistrates regularly took action against the buses running on other routes.

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