Sunday, December 15, 2019 | ePaper

Reform in new RTA demanded

Transport strike hits Khulna, Rajshahi divns

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Several hundred buses remains parked at the Khulna Inter District Bus Terminal on Monday as transport workers in the division holted bus services protesting the new Road Transport Act that became effective across the country on Monday.

Staff Reporter :
Transports workers, especially bus drivers and their assistants, went on an indefinite strike in Khulna and Rajshahi divisions from Monday morning demanding reformation of the newly enacted Road Transportation Act 2018. 
Transport workers of Khulna division, some districts of Rajshahi division and Bhuapur of Tangail in Dhaka division have 'willingly' stopped running the buses, said Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association General Secretary Mortaza Hossain yesterday.
As no passenger buses left the district since Friday morning, thousands of passengers on the Khulna to Gopalganj, Barishal, Madaripur and Muksudpur routes immensely suffered for the lack of transportation.
Drivers suspended their services after parking their vehicles at various bus terminals.
The new law branded the drivers as killers in cases of road accidents, whereas in reality, the transport workers never kill anyone intentionally, said Mortaza.
The new law is quite similar to the law meant for criminals, he claimed.
President of the Khulna Motor Sramik Union Md Nurul Islam Bebi said workers suspended buses and minibuses on the routes demanding reformation of the newly enacted Road Transportation Act.
He said there is a provision of capital punishment for deaths in traffic accident and Tk 5 lakh as fine. A transport worker cannot afford it as they get Tk 15,000 to Tk 20,000 as salary per month.
"The drivers and their assistants have objected to many sections of the law. They stopped operating the buses on Sunday afternoon as the government took no steps to settle the issue," he said. The government introduced the new law in 2018 following an unprecedented movement by students for safer roads, after two students were killed in a bus accident in Dhaka.
The law passed in 2018 was published as a gazette on November 1 this year. But the transport owners and workers associations have been protesting against the law since it was drafted. The transport workers called for an amendment to the Road Transport Act 2018 during the rally in Jashore on November 14, said Harun Or Rashid, General Secretary of Jashore District Transport Workers Union.
No buses operated on domestic routes, including Jashore-Benapole and Jashore-Satkhira, but smaller vehicles, including cars and microbuses, were in service. Long-haul buses operated on the routes to Benapole and Chattogram and other parts of the country, said MR Rahman, manager at Benapole office of Eagle Paribahan.

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