The High Court on Tuesday ruled that compressed natural gas-powered private auto-rickshaws — ash, grey and silver-coloured CNG auto-rickshaws — would no more operate on streets of the capital on commercial purposes.
The bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam pronounced the judgement after rejecting a writ petition filed by private CNG-Auto Rickshaw Owners Welfare Association financial secretary Delowar Hossain Sowdagar in 2016.
Delowar told New Age that he would appeal against the judgement.
The court also withdrew its earlier order that on July 27, 2016 had asked the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority chairman and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner not to bar 1,546 private auto rickshaws from plying on the capital’s roads.
The court in its judgement did not permit private autos to operate in the capital, stating that it was the government’s policy decision where and on which roads or in which areas the autos would be operated.
As the autos which got registered with the BRTA with ‘Dhaka Da’ number plates as private category are allowed to operate privately outside the capital, there is no scope to permit them to ply on the capital’s roads converting their registrations with ‘Dhaka Tha’ number plates as commercial category, said the court.
The government can only change structures of any vehicle but cannot convert it from private category to commercial category, BRTA lawyer Rafiul Islam told New Age, quoting the order of the court.
The owners pleaded that the private auto-rickshaws should be permitted plying in the capital after converting them as ‘public CNG’.
Ash, grey and silver coloured auto-rickshaws which got registered with the BRTA are permitted to ply privately in in Gazipur, Narsingdi, Narayanganj and Munshiganj.
The government has not allowed any new registration of commercially-run auto rickshaws since 2004, considering the heavy traffic in the capital.
A large number of privately-owned auto rickshaws are plying on the streets illegally for hire, ignoring their registration rules.
The government banned 35,000 petrol-run two-stroke three-wheelers in the capital and introduced 13,000 imported CNG-run three-wheelers in 2001 to operate commercially in the capital in a bid to contain air pollution.
Later, 3,957 others were permitted to operate privately outside the capital between 2009 and 2012, according to the CNG-Auto Rickshaw Owners’ welfare’s Association.
The owners said that the only green-coloured auto-rickshaws which got registered with ‘Dhaka Tha’ number plates were allowed to operate commercially.
Earlier on May 14, 2012, the High Court asked the authorities concerned to explain in three weeks why they should not be directed to take legal action against privately-owned CNG-run auto-rickshaws running commercially on the city streets without permission.
Allegations are there that owners and drivers of these vehicles run them with underhand dealings with members of the law enforcement agencies.
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