Monday, December 16, 2019 | ePaper

Yet no big change in road transport sector

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There are widespread allegations of extortion by an influential syndicate in the transport sector, particularly targeting the passenger buses and goods-laden trucks. However, leaders of the transport owners' association recently have refuted the allegations saying that it only collects subscription fees from its members to run the organisational activities. On the other hand, general people and different professional bodies have accused the association's top leaders of collecting illegal toll. What's true is that the ruling party-backed some organised groups keep control on the transport sector while extortion is a lucrative business for them. Millions of taka is collected from transport sector daily through extortion while the share money allegedly goes to different levels, including law enforcement agencies.
As political stalwarts are directly involved with the illegal business, it seems impossible to stop extortion in transport sector so easily. We do believe, the government is not in a position to stop the extortionists without facing hard resistance from within. However, some think that stopping the collection of such 'fees' is simple if the current system of issuing route permit is changed. It would help to stop the collection of Tk 700-1400 per bus by these companies.  Besides, other illegal tolls by security forces or some other platforms could be stopped by the installation of CCTVs on highways. If maintained properly they could give damning evidence against anyone who tried to collect tolls from bus, truck and other vehicles.
There is nothing to hide that transport sector is a big hub for extortion. We, after last year's countrywide road safety movement, hoped that there would be some important changes in this sector. Unfortunately, the government could not do it though several big promises were made by it. No substantive change has been made except introducing a new law. There is a doubt whether the law could be implemented with full force.

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