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.
Dhaka, Oct 27 (UNB) - State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Moshiur Rahman Ranga on Saturday said the government is committed to ensure a fair price and meet the demand of milk in the country.
“To fulfil the demand of milk in the country, the government has established 13 milk cooling centres while the activities of milk vita are underway at 2,319 villages,” the minister.
Attending a loan distribution programme for buying cattle as the chief guest at Bangabandhu Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development (BAPARD) Auditorium in Kotaliara upazila in Gopalganj, Ranga came up with the remarks.
Ranga said, “Milk vita has established cattle food factory spending Tk 27,28,00,000 to increase the production of milk. Besides, an artificial reproduction centre spending Tk 18,24,00,000 was also established in Laxmipur.”
During the programme, a total of Tk 1 crore was distributed as loans among 50 cattle farmers.
Barguna, Oct 27 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday sought reelection of Awami League to uphold the global recognition of Bangladesh as a role model of development.
"Today, we've earned the global respect for Bangladesh as a role model of development. We'll have to keep it up. So, I want you all to cast votes for Awami League for another term," she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a public rally at Taltoli Upazila Government High School ground here.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League chief, said, "I want you to promise to cast votes for 'Boat', the election symbol of Awami League, to give us mandate again to serve you."
She said the living standard of people got elevated whenever AL came to power. "Whenever I came to power, I wanted the people of the country to get an improved and decent life as desired by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman."
The Prime Minister went on saying, "I dedicated myself to the people of Bangladesh for changing their fate and giving them a happy and prosperous life. It's my goal to give the people of Bangladesh an improved life."
She said the boat symbol means development. The people got the right of speaking in mother tongue, Bangla and Bangladesh as an independence country. “The whole Bangladesh now sees massive development as people cast votes for boat,” she added.
The Prime Minister said her government will turn every upazila, union and village into a township.
Criticising the two top leaders of BNP, Sheikh Hasina said Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Zia had tried to kill her by carrying out the August-21 grenade attack.
“What did BNP do? They had made Bangladesh a country of militancy and terrorism. They had made Bangladesh world champion for five times in the corruption index….they had pushed the country towards destruction,” she said adding that the reasons behind these were they do not believe in the country’s independence and the development of people.
Hasina said her government awarded the recognition of Quami Madrasah education and is constructing 560 model mosques across the country.
She urged all, including guardians, teachers, imams of mosques, religious clerics and local people to keep their watch over the children so that they will not engage in militancy and drug.
“Bangladesh will be a peaceful country. There’ll be no room for terrorism, militancy and drug on Bangladesh’s soil,” said the Prime Minister.
Since returning to power, she said her government has been implementing huge development schemes in the southern region.
Terming the southern region of the country very beautiful and excellent, Hasina said the people of this southern region had always been neglected. “It’s only the Awami League government that works for the development of the region. Inshallah, we’ll take measures so that all can lead a decent life,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the government is taking steps for building the industries of shipbuilding, shipbreaking and recycling at Taltoli upazila which will generate jobs for local people.
AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, among others, addressed the rally arranged by AL Taltoli upazila unit.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated 21 development projects in the district by unveiling their plaques from the venue.
The projects include a 250-bed hospital at Barguna Sadar, two fire service and civil defence stations at Bamna and Betagi upazilas, district library, construction work on a barrack for women police personnel at district police lines and other projects, extension works on the 2nd floor of hostel for blind children, Amtoli thana building, three union land offices in Barguna Sadar, Dowatola (coastal) and Hosnabad, repair of coastal embankments affected by cyclone Sidr and Aila, construction works on four-storey academic buildings-cum-cyclone shelter centers of M Baliatoli DN College in Barguna Sadar, Syed Fazlul Haque Degree College in Pathorghata and Yunus Ali Khan Degree College in Amtoli.
The projects also include Upazila Livestock Development Centre in Taltoli, Bakerganj-Padrishibpur-Kathaltoli-Subidkhali-Barguna road widening works, one bridge, Taltoli upazila parishad complex, Bamna upazila parishad complex, Gourachinna Union Parishad Complex, One House One Firm and Polli Sanchoy Bank buildings in Bamna and Taltoli.
Dhaka, Oct 27 (UNB) – A fire broke out at a shopping complex in the city’s Shantinagar area on Saturday afternoon.
The fire ensued at the 1st floor of Tropical Razia Tower around 4:54 pm, said duty officer Ataur Rahman of the Fire Service and Civil Defense control room.
Fourteen firefighting units rushed there and brought the fire under control at around 6:00 pm, he added.
The flame of the fire was doused around 6:28 pm, said Mahfuz Riben, another duty officer of the control room.
The fire was originated due to electric short circuit and three shops were gutted in the fire incident, Mahfuz said adding that no casualty was reported in the incident.
Dhaka, Oct 27 (UNB) – The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) has been induced for holding free, fair and impartial polls during the upcoming national election, said Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury on Saturday.
The EVMs are must for a holding a transparent and reliable election, said the commissioner while addressing at the opening ceremony of EVM Exhibition at Kabi Jashim Uddin Hall in Faridpur town.
“There remains zero possibility of vote rigging and vote theft if EVMs are used,” the election commissioner said adding, “EVM has been induced to bring back peoples’ confidence in the voting process.”
“The Election Commission is independent and working to ensuring an acceptable election,” he further said.
The political atmosphere in the country after the announcement of election schedule will determine whether military deployment is necessary or not, he added.
EC Director Farhad Hossain, Faridpur Police Super Md Zakir Hossain Khan, Regional Election Officer Nuruzzaman Talukdar, among others, were present while Faridpur Deputy Commissioner Umme Salma Tanjia was on the chair.
In another function in Chattogram, Election Commission Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said the EVM will be used on a limited scale in urban polling stations during the upcoming national election.
“There will be no chance of rigging vote if EVM is used during the election,” the EC secretary came up with the remarks while addressing at the opening ceremony of EVM Exhibition at Chittagong Fine Arts Academy Conference Centre on Saturday.
“As the EVM system is modern and a new technology, it may seem doubtful, but we have to be used to by using it,” said Helaluddin adding that the voters will not be allowed to cast their vote unless he/she has the smart card, voter ID card and the voter’s presence.
The EC secretary also claimed EVM was used during the Chattogram City Corporation Election in 2010 and the election was free and fair as well as the vote counting was done within the shortest time.