If you want to visit Sector-4 of the capital’s Uttara by your car, from next month you will have to have your vehicle registered with a local homeowners’ association by paying Tk 500 for one year.
Bizarre as it may sound, the Uttara Kalyan Samity Sector-4 is going to impose this restriction.
The Samity issued a letter in this regard about 10 days ago to all the residents, educational institutions and commercial establishments in the sector, one of a dozen in the Uttara Model Town, stirring up resentment among locals.
The September 24 letter, signed by Samity’s General Secretary Kamal Hossain, reads that a vehicle has to be registered with it and obtain a sticker for Tk 500 to enter the neighbourhood.
Throughout this month, all the vehicles intending to enter Sector-4 would be subjected to checking by the society’s staff, and from next month, no vehicle will be allowed in the area without the sticker, it says.
To get the registration, an owner has to provide the society with information like name and address, mobile phone number and details of vehicle, among others, according to the society’s vehicle “registration form”.
Talking to The Daily Star, a number of residents and regular visitors said a private association does not hold any legal authority to realise money from vehicle owners and impose restriction on vehicular movement.
Only law enforcement agencies and a designated authority can regulate, restrict and discipline public vehicular movement, they said. All of them preferred not to be named fearing reprisal from the association.
“The move is ridiculous; it will instead cause traffic hindrance and chaos,” said the father of a fifth grader of a school in the area.
The letter has been issued to all the 26 educational institutions and all the commercial establishments and offices in the area asking them to obtain the stickers from the society.
It was served in the name of North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam and local police administration.
Prabir Kumar Roy, deputy commissioner of North Division (Traffic), Dhaka Metropolitan Police, however, said, “We have no knowledge of any such move. The roads belong to the government and people have every right to move there freely.”
The society doesn’t have the authority either to impose registration for vehicles or realise money for stickers, he said. “It will not be lawful on the part of a private society to restrict public vehicular movement.”
Prabir noted it is the jurisdiction of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). The society could have sought police help had there been any traffic disciplinary issue, he added.
According to the Samity’s office bearers, the entire Uttara sector-4 is already covered by CCTV surveillance as a security measure and soon 100 more cameras will be set up.
Major (retd) Anisur Rahman, president of the society, said various commercial establishments, offices, schools and even hotels are operated in the residential properties in their neighbourhood, resulting in unmanageable traffic.
“We just want to restrict those vehicles without society sticker in the area though this measure will not resolve the nuisance cent percent,” he said.
“We’ve written to the Rajuk and the city corporation time and again about unauthorised commercial use of residential properties but to no avail.”
“We are trying to address the problem our way,” he said, replying to a query that drastic decline in quality of residential life due to relentless commercialisation in any neighbourhood is a common phenomenon all across Dhaka city.
Asked whether a private association like his has legal authority to impose registration, realise money and restrict public vehicular moment, Anisur said, “No.”
About the vehicular restriction from next month, he said, “It has not been appropriate to have written it this way.”
On the rationale of realising Tk 500 from every vehicle per year, he said it is because the execution of restricting vehicular movement in the area will require additional manpower.
As to whether they obtained the mayor’s endorsement for their move, Anisur Rahman said they informed him of it verbally but there is no formal consent from the mayor’s office.
Md Lokman Hossain Mollah, BRTA director for engineering, said, “The society at best can collect subscription from its members but it can in no way restrict vehicular movement on public roads nor can impose registration or realise money to that end.”