Bumpy ride

Published: Friday 15 November 2002

-- Bangladesh's capital Dhaka is facing an acute transport crisis. With its 12,000 two-stroke autorickshaws and tempos being sent off the road, there are no vehicles to replace the banned fleet.

Consequently, commuters have been left stranded. In fact, they are being taken for a ride as transport operators are charging hefty fares. Their plight is aggravated when taxicabs say a flat "no" to short trips. In an attempt to mitigate their suffering, the government has decided to make the installation of meters in autos mandatory. But the rule is still not in place.

Worse still, despite several anti-pollution measures the skyline of the city remains hazy. Environment minister Shahjahan Siraj had earlier made it obligatory for both diesel and petrol-run vehicles to install catalytic converters. However, not all vehicles are abiding by the regulation. Another flaw is that air quality monitoring stations are being planned in comparatively clean pockets instead of places which are crowded and vulnerable.

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