- 12.45 lakh pending smart driving licences
- Supposed to be printed by March
- Only 3 lakh licences printed so far
- BRTA said Covid-19 delayed the printing
- Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory was assigned to print the licences in 2021
- Earlier, BRTA made agreement with Tiger IT and Madras Security Printer
The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has still not made a dent in the 12.45lakh driving licence backlog, printing only three lakh cards since the March deadline. The authority has also made fresh agreements with two new companies for printing the cards, but there has been no visible progress.
On 29 August 2021, BRTA made an agreement with the Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory (BMTF), run by the Bangladesh Army, for printing smart driving licences.
According to the agreement, BMTF would start issuing the cards from October that year and provide 12.45 lakh driving licences within the next six months.
So, the printing work was supposed to be completed by March this year, but the company has printed only three lakh cards.
BRTA Director and spokesperson Mahbub E Rabbani said that the BMTF could not print the cards within the stipulated time as they could not import the printing machines due to cancellations of flights amid the Covid-19 epidemic.
They will bring the machines within this month. They will be able to print 10,000-15,000 cards a day and the printing of the remaining licences will be completed within the stipulated time, he added.
Before awarding the contract to the BMTF, BRTA had a deal with Tiger IT for printing the licences, but as the firm was blacklisted by the World Bank in 2018, the authority began searching for another company. After 1.5 years, BRTA selected the Indian firm Madras Security Printer (MSP).
The MSP received the work order to print licences in 2019 and had set up a facility in Bangladesh. As per the contract, the company was to provide 40 lakh cards in five years and deliver nine lakh of those cards within 2021. But after nearly nine months, MSP managed to deliver only 13,000 cards.
Due to the delay in getting a smart driving licence, people have been victims of multifaceted sufferings. Some said their driving visa expired as they could not submit the licence to the authorities of the destination countries.
Some Bangladeshi expatriates who have applied for a driving licence there said having a Bangladeshi driving licence saves money and makes the process easier to get a driving licence abroad.