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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Dhaka police mount rickshaw hunt
Row of cycle rickshaws on a Dhaka street
Several hundred thousand rickshaws ply in Dhaka

Police in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka have begun a concerted campaign to reduce the number of cycle rickshaws that operate in the city.


The rickshaws have become very undisciplined ...and that is why we want to restore discipline through this operation

FI Khan, police Deputy Commissioner

Over the course of the next month they intend to confiscate up to 50,000 rickshaws which are either unlicensed, or have violated traffic rules.

Unlicensed rickshaws are put onto a fleet of lorries and dumped in a government park in the centre of the city.

There are currently more than 350,000 rickshaws in Dhaka and the overwhelming majority of these are unlicensed.

The authorities are simultaneously clamping down on rickshaw drivers who violate traffic rules.

'Restoring discipline'

All day long, lorries can be seen reversing into a vast holding-ground for confiscated bicycle rickshaws in the centre of Dhaka.

Traffic jam on a Dhaka street
Rickshaw drivers are accused of 'indiscipline'

Thousands of unlicensed machines have been dumped into this rickshaw graveyard.

The Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Fakhrul Islam Khan, says that the confiscation programme is vitally necessary to bring a semblance of sanity to Dhaka's notoriously over-crowded streets.

"The rickshaws have become very undisciplined and there are so many rickshaws which came to this city from outside districts," he says.

"And that is why we want to restore discipline through this operation."

Polluters removed

The police are paying particular attention to rickshaw drivers who break traffic rules.

Their cycle rickshaws too have been confiscated, but they can be reclaimed once they pay a fine.

The confiscation campaign is part of a government initiative to improve public transport in Dhaka.

Earlier this month, nearly 15,000 polluting auto-rickshaws were removed from the streets.

See also:

02 Sep 02 | South Asia
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31 Jan 02 | South Asia
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16 Aug 02 | Country profiles
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