Transport agencies have long been lacking in skilled manpower, simply affecting the country's vital sector from planning to execution and regulatory stages.
As such, the sector is gripped with problems like increased road casualties, geriatric vehicles, rickety roads and chaotic traffic system.
Vacancies in road transport and bridges ministry and its allied agencies are mainly for not taking a timely effort, sources said.
Transport expert Dr Moazzem Hossain said when the country needs at least double its existing manpower, it is very unfortunate to have vacancies in organograms.
"It is sort of breaking the promise of good governance by the government," he told the FE over phone.
On the one hand, road transport and highways division is overburdened with top-grade officials, but on the other, it lacks officials of different grades.
Sources said Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) also need staff to man their routine work.
Of the agencies, DTCA is responsible for coordinating transport-related projects with other transport agencies to remove conflicts.
BRTC operates state-run bus and trucks to check unfair competition by private operators. BRTA formulates regulations for transport and ensures road safety.
According to the latest data, RTHD has 72 posts vacant-23 in grade one, 22 in grade two, 15 in grade three and 12 in grade four.
DTCA was born to ensure better coordination among transport agencies in 2012 but to no avail. It has long remained neglected with minimum staff.
An organogram of more than 212 was created last year but yet it has 138 posts vacant.
Officials said some posts were filled on an emergency basis recently by sending staff of grade four, five and seven that do not belong to expert groups.
They, however, said DTCA could not recruit its own skill staff as it has yet to get approval of the service rule 2019.
Sources said BRTC has been increasing its fleet to run bus and trucks alongside private operators but it is lacking in 2,588 staffers.
Most importantly, the demand for more than 300 drivers to operate over 1,000 buses and 500 trucks could not be met due to inability of the loss-making corporation.
Officials said they have made an effort to fill many posts by promoting from existing manpower and recruiting fresh by assessing its financial capacity.
BRTA has vacancies in 118 posts. Only four posts of first class and 18 posts of second class are being filled with the help of Public Service Commission.
Kazi Mohammad Shifun Newaz of Accident Research Institute said most transport agencies not only lack manpower, but also run activities with less institutional support.
From his experience to work with BRTA to check road accidents and discipline traffic, the BUET teacher said many offices are run in only one room on rent.
Roads and highways department (RHD) also lack engineers and technical hands to 21,302-kilometre prime and secondary arteries in the country.
It has now nearly 9,000 cadre and non-cadre staff members, including 620 engineers.
Officials, however, said they need technical hands double their existing figures for a rise in the volume of works, management and maintenance work.
RHD has also revised organogram modernising different units, for example expressway and regional corridor. But the proposal is also yet to be approved.
Prof Moazzem Hossain of BUET said without increasing skills hands in transport agencies, road safety cannot be ensured in the country.
Citing an example of providing fitness, he said when BRTA has only 120 fitness inspectors against the required 1,400 compared to the number of vehicles.
"BRTA is taking money to certify vehicle fitness but don't give the proper service," he alleged.
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