According to BRTA, Govt owes a lot of money from the bus depot but not a penny is paid
Around 40 vehicles of the Rangpur Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) bus depot plying to the northern districts, lack fitness and route permits. Faulty brakes, tires and other unfit parts pose serious risks of road accidents.
Sources said the Rangpur BRTC buses fell into accidents and killed at least 45 people in the past two years. Workers in the BRTC bus depot alleged superior officials are indulged in corruption.
On a visit to the bus depot at the R K road, this correspondent found a number of buses were dismantled and valuable equipment such as engines and chassis were taken apart. The scene may rouse questions whether the parts were dismantled to to be sold illegally. Staff of the depot were reluctant to give out any names and other information regarding the place.
"Rangpur bus depot has a total of 104 staff and 42 buses that ply across various districts. Among the 42, 24 vehicles were operated and maintained by BRTC and 18 others were leased to private companies," said the bus depot operations manager Jamshed Ali.
He added that although their vehicles do not have fitness certificates, very recently a loan of Tk60 lakh was taken from the BRTA office to improve the condition of the vehicles. He also added that new buses would be arriving soon and the problem will be solved.
Two workers in the bus depot seeking anonymity and alleging that compared to the number of buses that roams around the city, half of the profit earned is not deposited to the office, but shared by higher officials.
Assistant Director Md Abdul Kuddus of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority collectorate office in Rangpur, said: "Over 60 Rangpur BRTC buses ply across the districts but none of them has fitness certificates. The bus depot owes a huge amount of money to the government. They haven't paid any heed to our repeated urges of paying the money back."
He added that the BRTA is conducting drives to stop unfit buses from plying the roads. However, up until now no incident of BRTA seizing an unfit vehicle was reported.
The bus depot manager Jamshed Ali denied any claims of corruption and irregularity.
Passengers of vehicles expressed concern over the unfit condition of the BRTC vehicles.
Solaiman Ali, a Panchagarh bound passenger who travels on BRTC buses on a regular basis, said: "I travel on BRTC buses because the seats are wide and comfortable, but the drawback is the buses lack fitness. When a bus breaks down mid-way towards the destination, it takes a long time to repair."
A Syedpur bound passenger, Aklima Aziz expressed the same concerns.
A driver of one of the BRTC vehicles sought anonymity and said the brakes and tires of the vehicles are in bad shape but they have to drive for a living.