Tuesday, February 18, 2020 | ePaper

Deaths on highways and a chaotic transport sector

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NEWSPAPERS reported that at least 224 people were killed and 866 injured in 203 road crashes across the country in the 12 days of Eid-ul-Azha holiday rush this year. According to Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, most crashes happened after the holidays when people were returning to Dhaka.  The association has blamed absence of monitoring and speeding on relatively empty highways while over 52 percent of the incidents involved vehicles running over pedestrians on roads.
It is noted that in the 13 days of last year's Eid-ul-Azha rush at least 259 people were killed and 960 others injured in 237 crashes. So far we know, reckless driving, unfit vehicles, carrying of people on trucks, unskilled drivers, three-wheelers on highways, absence of footpaths on highways, overworked drivers and an increasing number of motorcycles during Eid rush were the main causes of the crashes.
During Eid holidays, it's a common scenario that high officials of police, RAB and relevant Ministers visit the roads. But this is simply an eye wash targeting to catch the attention of media. We see the opposite picture after the departure of these high officials as there remains no one in the field to monitor the vehicular movement round-the-clock. So, every spot becomes accident prone due to rough driving of mostly unfit vehicles by untrained drivers.
What's significant is that more crashes usually happen after Eid holidays. It's also for lack of monitoring. That means, road transportation in this country is never safe. And chaos on roads and highways is everyday's phenomenon. Though it sounds bitter, the fact is that - the relevant Minister has miserably failed to establish control in the road transport sector. Even, it is not yet sure when the Road Transport Act-2018 will be implemented, which could reduce the number of fatal accidents.
It's an open secret that road transport sector is under control of a section of influential persons backed by some ruling party leaders where extortion, mismanagement and other unlawful activities are everyday's feature. Not only that, the dishonest officials of traffic department of police and BRTA expand all sorts of cooperation with a view to lingering the mismanagement. It's a vicious circle. Nobody knows, when the nation would get rid of it!

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