The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) okayed a new proposal to collect toll from goods-laden vehicles plying different roads and highways across the country.
To this end, some 21 new axle load controlling rooms will be set up.
In spite of a tussle with businessmen over the implementation of the new axle load regulations for controlling weight in transportation on Dhaka-Chattogram highway, the government has come up with this decision.
Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Ecnec on Tuesday at its weekly meeting gave an approval to the project worth Tk1,630 crore.
The implementation of the project will bring some discipline on roads, however, entrepreneurs, businessmen and transportation stakeholders feared that the production cost and price may rise as less goods will be transported by the same vehicle.
In the last week’s Ecnec, Sheikh Hasina made overloading responsible for the dilapidated condition of the roads, and suggested that effective measures be taken for the weighing control of goods laden trucks.
Earlier, the implementation of axle load regulations on the Dhaka-Chattogram highway halted last year in the wake of protests from the businessmen. At that time, the businessmen increased the price of rods, cement and other products shuffling an excuse of increase in transportation.
The planning commission fear that problems might come in course of running the axle load centres.
The Project Evaluation Committee recommended to take help from the law enforcing agencies to run axle load centres effectively.
Talking about it, Planning Minister MA Mannan said it is a must to keep the roads intact for the very sake of the businessmen.
The project has to be implemented by finding a solution through discussing with the businessmen.
The minister also said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered not to harass the businessmen in the name of implementing the axle load regulations.
He said, “The load system of vehicles has to be monitored centrally. We have to be careful so that there is no mismatch in measuring weight.”
In order to take the transportation system to an accepted standard, the prime minister suggested that “we talk to the businessmen and entrepreneurs.”
The minister also said the cost of road maintenance will be collected through tolls.
Former president of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and vice president of FBCCI (Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries) Md. Siddiqur Rahman said the businessmen will welcome the initiative taken up to keep the roads intact to ensure security.
However, the businessmen are being harassed in the name of axle load control. Vehicles are stooped here and there, which causes loss of time. Bribes are also taken. If the discipline is not maintained, it will be difficult to run business.
Mokbul Ahmed, president of Bangladesh Truck & Covered Van Owners Association, said the roads are damaged because of over weighted vehicles. It is also tiresome for the drivers. These should come to an end.
Usually, the road designs are formulated based on Cumulative Equivalent Standard Axle Load (CESAL) of 10-250 years.
In the gazette published in May 2004, the highest weight capacity for two wheelers front axle and four wheeler rear axle was set as 15 tonnes. However, in reality, trucks and covered-vans with 20-30 tonnes of weight ply the roads, and consequently the roads become dilapidated before the designated life span ends.