What is happening in BRTA regarding printing of smart driving license is very unclear now. People are suffering much for not getting smart card. Everything is done as ad hoc basis. We know all that the BRTA and its branch offices in Dhaka and different districts are now a place of sufferings of the people. Each and every office of BRTA in the country is flooded by brokers. Anyone can have this experience if he visits BRTA office at Mirpur, Ecuria and Uttara Diabari. Brokers are very active there. Everyday many people are being cheated by them in these places. Few years back Roads & Bridges minister had paid a surprise visit at Mirpur BRTA office and on the spot members of law-enforcing agency arrested some brokers in the presence of minister. It was reported in the newspapers & electronic media in the then time. After that the deceiving activities got reduced considerably. But within very short time situation turned as what had been earlier.
It is a reality that BRTA offices in Dhaka, specially the Mirpur office are a place of harassment. One can get this unpleasant experience if he goes to that office for any purpose. For fitness of vehicles one has to wait on the long queue for indefinite period of time and it is not less than 2-3 hours. And this queue spreads almost up to as long as a kilometer. The brokers come to the vehicle drivers or owners and ask about their needs. Brokers assure them that they can do all of their work regarding fitness, depositing money to the bank’s booths located inside BRTA premises within an hour. And you need not wait on the long queue. A person who comes there becomes tempted and gets agreed with the condition of the brokers. For this arrangement one has to spend not less than taka 2-3 three thousand out of the actual expenditures. If this is settled one can get all the services even not bringing his/her vehicle for fitness on the spot inspection and all the formalities will be done smoothly within very short time.
As a result of these activities, all the time chaos and indiscipline prevail in the BRTA premises. This is a regular phenomenon at Mirpur BRTA office. The area of office premises of Mirpur is big and it is not less than 2-3 acres of land. But this area keeps always full of crowd as brokers’ presence is always there. Brokers are very active in BRTA premises and its adjacent areas, shops and roads. If anyone wants to do photocopy of some required papers from nearby shops he can get some people wandering around him/her and they are showing extra inquisitiveness about his work. The brokers have some sort of liaisons with lower level staff and some inspectors at BRTA premises. It is an informal chain relationship among some of the persons working there. Everybody in this circle gets benefitted by this informal chain relationship out of their assigned office work with collaborations of people of this chain or circle. Even that particular person coming to BRTA need not bring his/her vehicle in the BRTA premises for fitness inspection if he/she agrees to spend a bulk of money asked by them. This situation is open secret and everybody concerned in this environment knows all these.
People consider BRTA is a place of hassles & inconvenience. In this regard issuing and renewing smart driving licenses may be mentioned here. The writer himself is a worst sufferer in this case. He submitted his application with fulfillment of required formalities in the year 2019 and accordingly finger print & photo-shoot was taken. After that he was given a date of long gap of six months for taking delivery of the smart driving license. Getting no SMS from BRTA after six months the writer went to Mirpur BRTA office for looking after the concerned driving license. But he came to know that driving license had not been ready as the vendor could not supply the printed smart cards on behalf of BRTA. So the concerned BRTA official put a stamp-print on the particular papers for driving license extending another six months for delivery date. In this way two years already passed but still now he did not get the delivery of driving license. Last two years only one citation of BRTA we got and that is driving license is yet to be delivered by the vendor. If this situation prevails in BRTA months after months and years after years one can easily question about the efficiency of this important government organization.
Many people are the worst sufferers of BRTA’s inefficiency and incapacity. Because new people cannot compete in the job market as new driving license is not being issued by BRTA. People who want to go abroad for driving profession are also facing hassles for not getting smart driving license issued by BRTA. For that reason a number of people cannot prepare their applications for getting a job of driving profession. Besides driving license people also face irritating experience in general to get any service from BRTA. The appropriate authority should look into the matter to their cognizance immediately. Otherwise the hassle and irritating experience will continue to the indefinite period.
Now is the time to evaluate total BRTA activities as everything is getting digitized in normal course. To get rid of different hassles and forgeries of brokers in BRTA premises the authority should have take such initiatives which can reduce the hassles inconveniences of service takers. It is positive news that BRTA is in the process of total digitization. If this continues, within very short time people will get their appropriate service without hassles and inconveniences. All of us look forward to those days.
Dr. Syed Nesar Ahmad Rumy, Retired Civil Servant.