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Unauthorised easy-bikes flood the streets in Kushtia

Times Report - January 1st, 2013

Hundreds of unauthorised commercially run electric three-wheelers have flooded Kushtia town and its adjoining areas.
There are two types of electric vehicles —– motor-rickshaws and easy-bikes, plying the city roads. The motor-rickshaws are similar to ordinary paddle rickshaws but with a battery-run motor set under the body and are powered by four-three rechargeable batteries. On the other hand, the easy-bikes look somewhat like CNG-run auto-rickshaws but are powered by five rechargeable batteries.
Power Development Board (PDB) sources said each of the auto-bikes, which have to be charged eight hours daily, consumes 7-8 units of electricity when a motor-rickshaw consumes around 2-3 units every day.
If 500 such vehicles in a town use more than 24,00 units of electricity a day, it costs no less than TkĀ  10,000 in a day.
According to Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), all motor vehicles need six types of documents to be on roads but the motor-rickshaws and easy-bikes had none
Around 300 easy-bikes and 200 motor-rickshaws are regularly plying in the district.
Now the motor-rickshaws, however, have owners’ association. It has to pay police. A motor-rickshaw owner has to pay Tk 300 per month to keep the police content, sources said.
Although the owners and drivers have to pay different quarters to ensure that the vehicles stay on the road, they earn a pretty good amount as they get a huge number of passengers mainly because of cheap fare.
For a trip to Mazampur gate from Chorhas, a rickshaw will charge Tk 20 while an easy-bike takes only Tk 5 or Mazampur to Bara bazaar, the rickshaw price is around Tk. 10, but commuters are easily going paying Tk. 5.
Only a few of the vehicle owners recharge their vehicles at home. The recharging is mostly done in several garages that have been set up with the required facilities in the neighbourhoods where the vehicles run.
Locals complained that these recharging stations use electricity connections illegally.
BRTA official never conducted drives though it is the responsibility of police to check whether the vehicles have required documents.
If the law enforcers carry out their duties properly, no vehicle can run without required documents.
PDB officials in the district however, admitted that PDB incurs losses for the illegal consumption of electricity by these vehicles.
Police denied taking bribes from the illegal vehicle owners but admitted that some vehicles are plying in the town and no drive was made to book it.