September 13, 2014 in Publication

Todays world Bangladesh may be the only country allowing manually pulling cycle rickshaw or van. From the Mughol period the rickshaw & Van have been using as an environment friendly and cheapest public transportation running manually by human. Although Bangladesh is the only country allowing a human pulling another human which is also in one sense a slavery prevailed in the 15th century but as a cheaper and environment friendly transportation rickshaw-van is so popular among the middle-class which is the core reason, the rickshaw-vans are running with great role in the communication sector for last couple of century.

There are millions of van-rickshaw are running all over the country including more than 2 Hundred Thousands of van-rickshaw (in only Dhaka City Corporation (North and South) are running which ensuring minimum one family to maintain their livelihood on each van-rickshaw. In Bangladesh Rickshaw-van are so general vehicles that can cover up the widest area of the country but unfortunately there is no codified rules or regulations regarding the proper management and controlling of those rickshaw-vans.


In absence of any codified law being one of the oldest occupation like 2/3 hundreds of years the van-rickshaw pullers had never faced any serious problems in continuing their occupation smoothly though sometimes the law enforcing agency or other authorities created unnecessary hindrance but the van-rickshaw pullers never be able to get any legal support due to want of proper and effective rules.

There are thousands of rickshaw & van which are manually operated but the police and traffics very often creating obstacles in running those vehicles in the name of violating traffic rules or wrong entering into any particular road or non-following of lane etc though they have regular license plate issued from the City Corporation. In this regard it is very interesting  that there is no effective rules providing the process for issuing license or determining the qualification of the drivers or even any guide line to that effect.

 The rickshaw and van drivers are plying those vehicles from beyond memorable time and considering the role of those rickshaw-vans in the communication sector the authority should taken some needful steps but very unfortunately the lawmakers failed to observe the necessity of those manual vehicles and intentionally tried to reduce the numbers of rickshaw-vans in Dhaka city as well as the whole country. It is very unfortunate of having no rules or act in-exist even define the rickshaw-van rather a single section provided in The Dhaka City Corporation Ordinance, 1983 ie 2(42) “vehicle” means wheeled convenience capable of being used on a street which not only incomplete but doesn’t at all near to describe a rickshaw or van. Under the Dacca (Dhaka) Municipal Ordinance the then Dacca Pourasabha was the only authority to frame necessary rules and regulations regarding management and regulation of the van-rickshaws and the Commissioner framed a bye-laws namely Traffic Control & Public Vehicles Bye-Laws on 10.07.1973. After a minute scrutiny of the said bye-laws it has been found that the same is neither provided any rules for issuing license to the rickshaw-van drivers nor provides any thing giving those deprived rickshaw-van drivers a right legally be claimed.

In that bye-laws the then Dacca Pourasabha now The Dhaka City Corporation (North & South) is the only licensing authority but after 1986-87 no new license has been issued to the Rickshaw and Van Drivers and so far the bye-Laws containing no provisions protecting the rights of the Rickshaw and Van Drivers, no body can challenge any action of the authority taken wrong or rightly.

So many rickshaw-van pullers individually or under some societies or federation  submitted hundreds of applications by following the process instructed by the City Corporation authority for licenses in last couple of decades but the so-called authority did neither allow nor disallow those applications in last 27 years and due to non-exist of proper rules the van-rickshaw pullers could not take any legal actions against the said arbitrary in-action.

 The Dhaka city corporation (North & South) tried to stand their authority for regulating and controlling rickshaw- van on the  Bye Laws namely Traffic Control and Public Vehicles Bye-Laws published in the year 1973 but there is no provisions empowering them to restrain or stop Rickshaw-Van in Dhaka City.  The so-called bye laws has been incorporated for only the then Dacca Pourasava but there is no rules or any thing whatsoever for the entire country.

 In the present situation when there is no specific law or rules as regards to the controlling and managing rickshaw-van in the country then there is a chance of being unnecessarily obstructed by misusing or mal-using the power of the law enforcing agencies which even cannot be accountable on excuse of having no guidelines or law.

 There are millions of rickshaw and vans running all over the country then a complete act or regulation is very much necessary to bring all those vehicles and the drivers under the provisions of the state law so that they can legally run their business and they will be able to obtain required license or permits by paying government taxes and fees which also can be a great source of revenue for the country at the same time ensure protection of the occupation by the rickshaw pullers. On the other hand for protecting the occupational right thousands of rickshaw pullers are demanded law full protection as reported in numerous daily news papers of the country.

 Due to having no effective law or insufficiency of having up to date rules the government are depriving from getting huge revenue from the millions of van-rickshaw pullers which is by no means an acceptable scenario in a democratic and developing country. It is relevant to mention that by taking the advantage of having no law or rules some corrupted officials in various authority or law enforcing agency are creating serious hindrance of running those rickshaw or vans and in some cases they are collecting huge bribes from those poor van-rickshaw pullers which are also reported in the newspapers in various news papers.

 Rickshaw-van are running totally environment friendly and it is not easy to found a person whoever never ride a rickshaw but very regretfully and unfortunately our legislatures are failed to realize the fact and the reason best to known to them, they yet not enact any enactment in respect of professional rickshaw van pullers. The Government or the legislatures not only failed to enact necessary law and rules for the rickshaw and van but also failed to take even a policy. After liberation it is crystal clear that the government took a dual standing in allowing the running of rickshaw-vans in the country as the authority did not make any declaration prohibiting rickshaw-van or even did not frame required rules or regulation for controlling them is self contradictory and by all means cannot be accepted.

 It This modern era in a civilized country the legislatures are too busy to cover up all the issues and matters by legislating new laws, rules and regulations each and everyday but in Bangladesh specifically in respect of rickshaw or van or any other country made vehicles there are no up to date law or rules resulting a huge turmoil situation in the communication sector.

 Until or unless there is law or rules no act can be said illegal or unlawful but very surprisingly it is evidenced in Bangladesh that a general view has been developing that running of those manually  operated vehicles are not legal and as such new enactment is necessary to bring smooth and peaceful environment in communication sector. A major number of peoples specially the young generation are utterly failed to realize the importance of country made vehicles because they are in a daydream of having a luxurious imported four wheeler with digital multimedia and chill air condition, don’t care how many billions of revenue cost for it.

Lastly on considering all aspects it is now impossible to deny the great importance of those poor van-rickshaw pullers and the environment friendly manual vehicles now its an epoch need to protect those hardy individuals.