Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | ePaper

Bus drivers also know people are helpless and their lives have no value

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A student of Sylhet Agricultural University died after he was pushed off a bus by the helper and crushed under the rear wheels in Nabiganj upazila of Habiganj on Saturday evening. The victim, Wasim Adnan, 21, son of Abu Zaher Mahbub and Dr Mina Parvin, was a fourth-year student of biotechnology and genetic engineering department at the university.

Wasim along with some of his friends were locked in an altercation with the driver and helper over fare after they boarded the Udar Paribahan bus from Toll Plaza area of Nabiganj to return to Sylhet around 6:30pm. At one stage, the helper pushed Wasim off the bus, and the vehicle ran him over leaving critically injured, said Kamrul Islam, sub-inspector of Sherpur Highway Police in Moulvibazar.

The bus was later seized by police in Begumganj area of the district's Osmaninagar upazila but the driver and the helper managed to flee. Driver Jewel Ahmed, was arrested around 10:45pm on Saturday. The helper, whose name could not be known immediately, reportedly remained at large. As the news of Wasim's death spread, students of the university staged demonstrations on Dhaka-Sylhet highway at Kadamtoli   of Sylhet and vandalised several buses.

The case is reminiscent of the incident in July last year when North South University student Saidur Rahman Payel was thrown into a canal from a bus by its driver and helper in Gazaria upazila of Munshiganj. Bus drivers seem to feel like kings of the road as they kill people in zebra crossings, throw students off board, even rape and kill women inside buses.

These buses which are more often than not totally unfit to even transport chickens are used to transport humans. The culture of mass impunity which seems to pervade these bus drivers stem from the fact that as of today not a single bus driver has had to suffer execution or life imprisonment for killing someone on the road. The only exception was a Tangail court which sentenced four transporters to death and another to seven years in prison for the rape and murder of college student Zakia Sultana Rupa in 2017.

The court proceedings or punishing the alleged reckless drivers with death sentence is not the solution for the simple reason there is no competent road traffic management or trustworthy implementation of the law. Like every other ministry affliction of corruption in transport sector is widespread. The ravaged and unusable buses used in the capital city are proof of mess in the transport sector. No capital city with responsible city corporation will tolerate such and dilapidated buses to be on the road. Those are allowing these buses to be on the roads and responsible for chaos in management for their incompetence should be dealt with first. This crisis of incompetent persons in high position in public affairs is common in the governmental affairs.

In a country of no people's election no public body feels any accountability to the people. People find themselves helpless before the government, more particularly, before the police. In short, powerlessness of the people being exploited by vested interest groups everywhere.

The bus drivers have also realised that lives of the ordinary people have no value or protection of law. There are convincing ways of avoiding punishment. So in final analysis it comes to messy governance and powerlessness of the people. In days to come we shall see how hollow is the success stories of the government in general.

The bureaucratic expertise cannot hide the truth and disaster that follows a failed government for long.

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