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BRTC to buy 400 buses, 500 trucks

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M M Jasim :
The government has decided to purchase more 400 new buses and 500 trucks under the second Indian Line of Credit.
"The state-run transport organization, Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC), which owns a fleet of about 2,100 buses, will procure the new buses and trucks," Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said this while replying to a starred question from opposition bench member Selim Uddin of Sylhet- 5 at the Jatiya Sangsad on Sunday. 
He said the decision was taken to improve the BRTC's transport service in the country. The process to appoint bus drivers and conductors will begin soon, he added.
"Shortage of buses is currently hampering the BRTC service. But it will get better when we add 400 more new buses to our fleet in December this year," the minister said.
Although the state-run transport service provider owns about 2,100 buses, 575 of them are out of commission due to negligence on part of the BRTC officials as well as a lack of timely maintenance, official sources said.
A recent internal report by the Road Transport and Highways Division has revealed that BRTC officials are directly involved in at least 10 different corruption activities, such as overestimation of maintenance cost, fuel and lubricant purchase and procurement cost of spare parts.
The field-level officials as well as the BRTC depot managers are especially involved in these irregular activities, said a BRTC official.
"The BRTC has bought 275 buses from China since 2010. Of those, at least 115 buses broke down within three years of service due to the lack of maintenance and negligence of field-level staff," the official said requesting anonymity.
The ministry sources said, a team of the ministry has been working to reduce the negligence and corruption in the sector.
To raise income, the ministry team suggested leasing out BRTC buses to private orgnisations and accepting donations from individuals, institutions and companies with the government's permission to ensure smooth operation.

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