An upcoming legislative provision will restrict families from owning more than a fixed number of cars, a move that can be seen as a desperate attempt by Bangladesh government to improve the existing traffic situation in the country’s metropolises.
The matter was disclosed by Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday at the Jatiya Sangsad.
In reply to a query, he told parliament that the provision has been included in the Road Transport Bill 2016, which will soon be tabled in parliament for voting.
However, the minister did not reveal the details of the provision such as the maximum number of cars a family can own.
If passed, the bill will replace the existing Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1983.
In February this year, the minister told parliament that the government is planning to set a ceiling for the number of private cars a single family can have, with an aim to ease Dhaka’s crippling traffic congestion.
At a press conference on October 20 last year, Obaidul Quader said: “We have found that one particular family uses 12 private vehicles for its family members, which leads to traffic congestion. So the number should be controlled.”
Before the press conference, the Road, Transport and Bridges Ministry held a discussion where experts suggested incorporating a provision in the draft act which will give a family permission for only two cars. If they want to get more cars, the family will need permission from the authorities concerned and also pay compound VAT or tax for approval.
A meeting with stakeholders and experts had also recommended that the government should limit the number of vehicles not only for a family but also for non-government and government organisations. Taxes will be imposed on organisations for each extra vehicle they want to use beyond the government’s approval.
Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary MAN Siddique yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune: “After getting the approval for the road transport act, the ministry will fix the number of cars a family can own by examining the practical situation of the traffic. Then the decision will be disclosed through a circular.”
Other nations have regulations to control the number of cars on roads. They fix the number of cars for families, companies and organisations. However, no such act exists yet in Bangladesh to support the government in its efforts to manage the number of vehicles on the roads.
Every day, the BRTA registers an average of 100 vehicles. Road capacity, however, does not increase. As a result, traffic congestion increases and is now out of control.
In the last five years, around 85,000 new cars were registered.