The High Court has directed to remove battery-powered easy bikes from the highway. But ignoring that instruction, Deda’s easy bike is running on the highway. Taken from Dhaka-Barisal highway yesterday. Photo: Kaler KanthoA- A A
Despite the ban imposed by the high court, three-wheeled vehicles are running almost freely on the main highways of the country. Due to these vehicles, high speed buses, trucks and other vehicles are not able to run at normal speed on the highway. As a result, traffic jams are happening and accidents are also happening. The traffic pressure on the highway will increase several times more than usual during the upcoming Eid.
The concerned people are fearing that these three wheelers may become a thorn in the side of the highways.
On the spot, three-wheelers were seen plying on different parts of Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Sylhet, Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka-Aricha highways. These vehicles include three-wheeled battery-powered easy bikes, foot and motorized rickshaws, bhatvati, tempo, CNG-powered autorickshaws, etc.
It is learned that the government banned the movement of three-wheelers on 22 highways of the country in 2015. The High Court then tightened the ban in January 2016 by ordering three-wheelers not to operate on all major highways in the country. On April 4, the apex court, in a writ petition, ruled that battery-powered three-wheelers could not cross the highway.
Road accidents are on the rise in the country due to three wheelers. According to the Accident Research Institute (ARI) of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), the situation is becoming so dire that the number of accidents involving three-wheelers has tripled in 2021 as compared to 2020. However, despite all this, three-wheelers could not be stopped on the highway.
There is a 105 km stretch of this highway across Comilla. Its various areas have been visited, with engine-driven three-wheelers, battery-powered autorickshaws, rickshaws and vans plying in almost every area. Nachimon, Karimon, Bhatvati are also going on openly somewhere.
Visiting the Chauddagram Bazar area of the highway, it was seen that rows of CNG-powered autorickshaws and battery-powered autorickshaws were parked on the highway. The drivers of these three wheelers are picking up passengers at different destinations. After that these vehicles are moving in different places through highways. In this area, two lanes of the highway going to Dhaka and Chittagong are occupied by illegal three wheelers. Due to this, there are frequent traffic jams and accidents on this part of the highway.
Omar Farooq, a resident of Gauripur area in Daudkandi, said three-wheelers often cause accidents on highways. Apart from this, there are frequent traffic jams at various places in the Daudkandi section of the highway. These three-wheeled vehicles may be one of the reasons for the misery of the passengers on the highway during the upcoming Eid journey.
Three wheelers were also allowed to drive freely in Miyabazar of Chauddagram, Suyagaji of Sadar Dakshin Upazila, Alekharchar Bishwarod of Comilla Sadar, Cantonment area, Nimsar of Burichang, Chandina bus stand, Elliotganj of Daudkandi, Gauripur, Baldakhal and Shahidnagar. In most of these places, ‘unannounced stands’ of CNG-powered autorickshaws have been set up on highways.
Kabir Hossain, a bus driver on a Comilla-Dhaka route, said there were many drivers of these illegal three-wheelers who did not know how to drive on the highway. Many times they rush to the front of the speeding car. When a bus travels at a speed of 100 to 120 kmph, when these prohibited vehicles rush to the front, they have to brake hard and stop the car. There is a risk of an accident. If these cannot be stopped now, the drivers and passengers will have to face extreme problems during Eid.
In this regard, Mainamati Highway Police Station OC Belal Uddin Jahangir told Kaler Kantha, “We have started a campaign against these vehicles. More members of the highway police are on the highway than ever before. Nowhere are these three-wheeled vehicles allowed on the highway. In addition, we will continue our campaign to evict those who have illegal stands in the area. Hopefully, people will be able to return home this Eid without any problem. ‘
Three highways in Gazipur
Three-wheelers have become one of the major causes of traffic jams and accidents on the Dhaka-Mymensingh, Dhaka-Tangail and Tongi-Ghorashal-Sylhet regional highways.
Hundreds of easy bikes, battery-powered rickshaws and CNG-powered autorickshaws were seen plying on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway from Bhogra crossroads in Gazipur metropolis to Tongi Station Road on Friday. These vehicles are stuck in traffic jams on the connecting roads due to occasional stops at bus stands, markets and important places.
In front of a private medical college hospital in Gazipura, the city spoke to easy biker Lal Miah (45). He said at least 4,000 easy bikes and battery-powered rickshaws ply daily from Tongi’s Station Road to Basan’s Bhogra crossroads. For this they have to pay 50 rupees per day on Station Road and 40 rupees on Board Bazaar.
Abu Bakar Siddique, a resident of Gazipura area and a production officer of a garment factory, said, “Easy bikes and battery-powered rickshaw drivers are very reckless on the highway. They do not obey traffic laws. Due to them, traffic jams continue on the highways. It takes one hour to walk 10 minutes. ‘
The situation is similar in Salna, Porabari, Masterbari, Rajendrapur crossroads, Hotapara, Bagher Bazar and Mauna crossroads of Dhaka-Mymensingh highway. All those vehicles are running freely on the highway.
Kaliakair Paribahan bus driver Abdul Latif said, “These illegal three-wheelers are one of the reasons for the daily traffic jam at Chandna crossroads in Gazipur. ‘
Salna Highway Police OC said. Feroz Ahmed told Kaler Kanth that they filed a case against these vehicles and fined them. They took to the streets again with fines. He said that the police is careful not to cause traffic jam due to these vehicles during Eid.
Two highways in Brahmanbaria
The Dhaka-Sylhet and Comilla-Sylhet highways cover about 64 km in Brahmanbaria district. CNG-powered autorickshaws ply on the 34-kilometer Dhaka-Sylhet highway from Ashuganj to Satnagar in Vijayanagar and about 40 kilometers on the Comilla-Sylhet highway from Bishbrod to Kasbar Kuti.
The free movement of three-wheelers is one of the 13 reasons for the high number of accidents on the two highways. Going to the spot, it was seen that three wheelers were moving freely on both the highways. Illegal CNG-powered autorickshaw stand on the highway in Kautli, Bishbrod junction, Ashuganj roundabout area of Brahmanbaria. Due to the illegal stand at Kautli, no other vehicles can cross the bridge.
Talking to Dulal Miah, a bus driver named Comilla Transport, at the corner of Biswaroad. He said, ‘Autorickshaws brake everywhere. Passengers disembark here and there. Due to this unintended accident happened. ‘
Sarail Khantihata Highway Police Station OC Sukhendra Basu said three-wheelers were under control even though they were not completely stopped on the highway. Despite the best efforts of the highway police, it is not possible to stop the three-wheelers completely due to the manpower crisis.
Manikganj district covers about 30 kilometers of the Dhaka-Aricha highway from Barbaria to Aricha Ghat. The area has been visited for the last two days, with three-wheeled battery-powered easy bikes, foot and engine-powered rickshaws, bhatvati, tempo and CNG-powered autorickshaws plying freely.
Shibalaya Upazila Parishad Complex adjacent to Tepra Bus Stand on Dhaka-Aricha Highway. Azmat Ali is a fourth class employee of a department here. His home is in Maniknagar village, about six kilometers away. He said there is no speed to come to the office from the village without easy bike or motorized rickshaw. The Dhaka-Aricha highway is about three kilometers long. Despite the fear of accidents, he has to work regularly on the Dhaka-Aricha highway.
Three-wheeled vehicles ply the highway like this with many like Azmat Ali.
Manikganj’s Golra Highway Police Station OC Monirul Islam said no separate lane has been constructed for three-wheelers on the Dhaka-Aricha highway so far. Despite the ban, three-wheeled vehicles hit the highway. They are not going to be stopped even by filing a case or a fine.[Sharif Ahmed Shamim, own correspondent from Gazipur, Biswajit Pal from Brahmanbaria, Abdur Rahman from Comilla and Sabirul Islam Sabu from Manikganj assisted in compiling the report. ]