People suffer on first day of countrywide transport strike
Publish- October 28, 2018, 09:24 AM
UNB NEWS - UNB NEWS
Update- October 29, 2018, 01:16 PM
Commuters flocking towards sole BRTC transport as no other public transports were plying on the city roads on the first day of 48-hour transport strike on Sunday, October 28, 2018. Photo: UNB
Dhaka, Oct 28 (UNB) - Commuters faced immense sufferings as transport workers across the country went on a 48-hour work abstention on Sunday to press home their eight point-demand, including amendments to the recently passed Road Transport Act.
Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation on Saturday announced the work abstention programme from 6 am on Sunday to 6 am on Tuesday.
In the capital, no public transport, except some CNG-run auto-rickshaws and rickshaws, were seen plying roads with a large number of commuters waiting on roads for transport to reach their destinations.
Public transports, including buses, minibuses and human-haulers stayed off the roads since morning in response to the strike, leaving the city dwellers, including office-goers and students, in disarray.
No inter-district buses left Gabtoli, Mohakhali or Sayedabad terminal in the morning.
CNG-run auto-rickshaw drivers and rickshaw-pullers were demanding excessive fares taking advantage of the situation, alleged commuters.
Many people were seen moving on foot or travelling by rickshaws to reach their destinations -- sometimes paying double or triple the fare of the usual one.
The government-run Bangladesh Road Transport Commission (BRTC) bus service was the only public transport option available throughout the city.
Traffic inspector Asad at Abdullahpur in the capital said there is no public transport on the roads since morning. The number of private vehicles is also limited. People were travelling on rickshaws to reach their destinations.
Basu Deb, who works at a private company and resides in Mirpur's Purobi area, said he had to wait on the road for a public bus from 6 am to go to Motijheel, but no vehicle was there. "Later, I had to hire a rickshaw," he added.
UNB correspondents from different districts reported that no long-route buses left their respective bus stands following the strike.
In Moulvibazar, a seven-day old newborn lost her life after being stuck in an ambulance during the on-going strike.
UNB Benapole correspondent reports, loading and unloading of goods at Benapole port remained suspended on Sunday following the countrywide transport strike.
No goods-laden truck from Bangladesh went to India following the strike.
Besides, several hundred passengers coming from India got stranded at Benapole land port due to lack of transport, causing immense sufferings to them.
Meanwhile, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said there is no possibility to bring any change to the Road Transport Act right now.
Referring to the eight-point demand of the transport workers, Quader said, “We can’t change the Road Transport Act now. If there’s any logical demand, then we’ll consider it after discussion and they have to wait until the next parliament session.”
In response, general secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation Osman Ali said now it is not possible to withdraw their ongoing 48-hour strike. "The minister gave his opinion on the media but he could have talked to us. The matter could be resolved through dialogue," he said while talking to UNB over phone.
However, talking to reporters in Naogaon, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the problem will be resolved soon through talks. “The striking federations of transport owners and workers have been invited to a meeting,” he said.
The demands of the transport workers include making all the offences by road accident 'bailable', cancellation of the provision of fining Tk 5 lakh for involvement in a road accident, keeping a representative from their federation in any probe body formed for road accident, fixing minimum educational qualification for getting driving licence to class-V, and stopping police harassment on roads.
Earlier on October 12, the workers' association decided to stage demonstrations by going on a two-day work abstention from October 28 to press home their eight-point demand that included amendments to the Road Transport Act, if their demands are not met by October 27.