Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | ePaper

Stop extortion from cattle-laden trucks on highways

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IT becomes a common trend in the recent years that the cattle traders have to put aside a portion of their money to feed the transport workers, law enforcers and political goons while carrying sacrificial animals to the capital. Like the previous years, extortion from cattle-laden trucks at different points, including Jashore-Dhaka highway, is rampant and wild. It's the devotees who ultimately bear the burden of extortion while buying the sacrifical animals from the cattle markets by giving high price. If the cattle traders get respite from spending extra money for extortion, they would be able to supply sacrificial animals in a comparatively lower price. The steps taken by authorities concerned are very weak to control the extortionists and the political goons. Can we put trust on the police to stop unbridled extortion on the highways or remain mum considering it as a part of systematic corruption?
News media yesterday reported that during the 250km-long Jashore-Dhaka highway, the cattle traders have to pay money at least at seven points. According to truckers, police used to charge up to Tk 400 each from cattle-laden vehicles at several points on the highway, including Ramnagar in Magura, Rajbari intersection and Kanaipur in Faridpur, and Paturia. But in this Eid rush for cattle traders, the drivers have to pay Tk 2,000 per month to a certain traffic police officer, who provides them with a pass for free movement in any district. The scenario is all the same in the country's other highways also.
On July 31, IGP Mohammad Javed Patwary instructed police officials not to stop any truck carrying sacrificial animals on the highways unless there is a specific allegation. He gave the instruction at crime conference at the Police Headquarters. In addition, Tajul Islam, President of Bangladesh Inter District Truck Drivers Union, said illegal toll is being collected in the name of different transport worker unions in different areas. There are admission and denial of the illegal toll collection from the law enforcers, but toll collection has not stopped anywhere.
We renew our call to the government during the Eid-ul-Azha to stop the bad practice. We believe the law enforcers will take steps to stop illegal toll collection on the highways from the cattle-laden trucks.

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