Vacancies in road agencies must be filled, irregularities stopped

Published: 00:00, Jan 18,2020


VACANCIES in more than a half of the sanctioned positions in agencies under the road transport and bridges ministry is worrying as the shortage of human resources hampers a proper services delivery. All of the five agencies, as New Age reported on Friday, face an acute shortage of human resources which weakens the ability of the agencies in dealing with and supervising the chaotic road transport sector. The highest of 67 per cent positions are vacant in the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority, with 141 of the 212 sanctioned positions remaining vacant. Most of the positions are technical and related to engineering and planning which suggests that the agency suffer severely in discharging its duties related to planning and engineering. In the Roads and Highways Department, 4,496 out of the total 9,431 positions, or 48 per cent, are vacant. The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation is also plagued with the shortage of human resources. The agency has 41 per cent, or 2,423 out of the 5,893 positions, vacant including those of drivers, driver’s assistants, conductors and mechanics. The Road Transport and Highways Division has 32 per cent of the positions vacant and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority 15 per cent.

Such a high number of vacancies is, no doubt, one major reason for the poor services of road agencies and poor services eventually pave the way for compromise of a sort in field-level supervision, leaving the road regime vulnerable to further chaos. Further worrying is that the recruitment in many positions is embroiled in legal complexities as cases are pending with the court. Moreover, there are allegations that the existing human resources of these agencies are not properly trained and skilled and that the agencies are also mired in mismanagement and corruption. Such a situation is certainly a major hurdle to a sustainable development of the road transport sector, which claims hundreds of lives every year — 7,855 people died in 5,516 accidents only in 2019, according to the Bangladesh Passengers’ Welfare Association. While vacancies in important positions in the five agencies at hand need to be immediately filled in, there is no reason to believe that the positions remaining vacant is what has led the road transport sector into the existing chaos. The government should also adequately attend to, without further delay, the issues of corruption and irregularities and the training of the existing human resources so that they could perform better and mend the flaws in the policies that the agencies take to fish the sector out of the chaos.

The government must, under the circumstances, immediately attend to the issue of the shortage of human resources in agencies under the road transport and bridges ministry. But it must also put in efforts so that important positions at least could be filled in immediately. The government at the same time must ensure good governance in the road transport sector and fully enforce the Road Transport Act to achieve a sustainable development in the road transport sector.

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