No license, rickshaws, easybikes or autorickshaws operate in Comilla city with tokens. Openly or secretly, these token money goes to the hands of extortionists and alleged administration managers. On the other hand, Comilla City Corporation is losing revenue from the transport sector due to not being able to bring the general vehicles under license. Transport order cannot be returned to the road.
And although there is no law to bring the battery-powered vehicles under the license, everything except these vehicles has been removed now. The city is overrun with illegal vehicles that exceed the capacity of the roads.
It has been found that there are only 1000 pedal rickshaws authorized to ply in Comilla City. Which have now been converted into illegal battery operated rickshaws. Autorickshaws, easybikes, battery operated rickshaws are all illegal on city roads. The ‘tokenwalas’ who control these transports. The names and mobile numbers of those who provide tokens in exchange for money are publicly written on the back of auto-rickshaws.
Talking to several auto-rickshaw-easybike drivers, it is known that the token holders take the responsibility of bringing these transports away if there is any problem or if they are caught by the law enforcement agencies. For this reason, a minimum of 300 taka to a maximum of 600 taka per token is taken per month. This token is the main driving force of these vehicles. And the money transacted with tokens has no validity.
Autorickshaw driver Hazrat Mia, a resident of Kaptan Bazar area of the city, said, ‘I had a rickshaw, a Bengali rickshaw, which had to be driven on foot. The license was from the city corporation. Now these are not moving. All are battery powered, I installed the battery. After installing the battery, there is no price for the city license, let’s take the token.’
Shafiqul, an auto driver of the same area, said, ‘Now no driver is known, all are strangers. Incidents of autorickshaw hijacking or hijacking of passengers occur. Because the driver is not identified.’
Journalist Anwar Hossain said, ‘Autorickshaw or easy bike drivers have no training. They drive at random speed. There is no tendency to obey traffic laws. Due to which accidents are happening constantly. Many have to bear the disability. I too am a victim of this.’
Irene Mukta Adhikari, vice president of the Conscious Citizens Committee, said, ‘Unless it is brought under the license or registration, it will not be known how many vehicles are suitable for movement on the city’s roads. As there is no license, the chaos on the roads is increasing day by day due to the lack of control in this area, at the same time the city corporation is also losing revenue. Registration is essential to bring order to all transport.’
Kazi Atiqur Rahman, license officer of Comilla City Corporation said, ‘The latest update of the city’s transport has been done in the financial year 2022-23. Only 1,000 pedal-powered rickshaws are licensed, and there is no law to grant licenses for any transport.’
Comilla District Traffic Inspector Ziaul Haque Tipu said, ‘We don’t know how many vehicles ply in the city. I don’t even know if there is a license or not. We work to maintain order on city roads. Now the number of vehicles that move, it is difficult to manage them properly.’
In this regard, the Acting Mayor of Comilla City Corporation, Habibur Al Amin Sadi, said, “The City Corporation is losing revenue due to the lack of licenses for vehicles operating in the city. All transport will be brought under the license in a very short period of time.’