Saturday, July 4, 2020 | ePaper

Protesters block highway for reform of new RTA

Covered van workers join truckers: Commuters suffer most: Indefinite strike from today to press home their 9-point demand

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Thousands of transport workers brought out a rally near Tejgaon Truck Stand at its Saat Rasta Morh in Dhaka on Tuesday, seeking reform of the new Road Transport Act.

Staff Reporter :
The public sufferings in the capital and the country's southern districts have been mounted amid the ongoing transport strike demanding reformation of the new Road Transport Act (RTA) which was formally got into effective from Monday.
Following the indefinite strike sponsored by transport owners and workers, the anguish of the countrymen has increased as no passenger buses have been seen to ply in 17 districts, including Khulna, Faridpur and Jashore, report our districts correspondents.  
Also the plying of long-distance buses on different routes, mainly Khulna to Dhaka and other divisions, were not seen during the strike, they reported.
The strikers have also unofficially observed the programme in Dhaka, Gazipur, Tangail, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Bogura districts.
They blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway for about three hours at Gazipur in the morning to press home the reformation of the new RTA.  
In this circumstance, hundreds of thousands of people, mainly office-goers and Primary Education Certificate (PEC) examinees, rushed   for transports to reach their destinations as very poor numbers of vehicle were plied on the   roads in the capital and in many districts during the strike on the second day on Tuesday.
In the capital, the city saw a very low turnout of public transport in the whole day as transport workers abstained from bringing their vehicles out following the drive of BRTA mobile courts to ensure implementation of the new transport law.
The lack of transportation was a result of a 'rumour' that spread in the morning, said Mahbubur Rahman, Organizing Secretary of Dhaka  Road Transport Owners' Association.  
The rumour spread among the transport workers that mobile courts across the capital were fining Tk 25,000 to each vehicle for running without valid documents. So, a huge number of vehicles without fitness certificates and drivers without licences did not bring out their vehicles in a bid to avoid getting fined, the transport leader said.
In the meantime, commuters were facing immense sufferings due to lack of vehicles as Dhaka was much emptier than other office days.
The transport plying in Chattogram, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Cumilla and Narsingdi was also poor that caused the commuters suffering, report the concerned districts' correspondents.  
Manjur Morshed, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Traffic West of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), told The New Nation on Tuesday, "Owners and divers are now not willing to run vehicles to avoid the fine and punishment as per new RTA."
Mujibur Rahman, owner of passengers bus Ark Transport on Uttra-Mohammapur route, said that the at least 30 busses are now out of plying on the route for about 15 days due lack of skilled drivers.
He alleged that a good number of transports out of the run as Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) do not issue the license for the loaded transports that's why the drivers' shortage are now common.
Earlier, bus and truck drivers in Khulna, Narail, Jhenaidah, Meherpur, Kushtia, Chuadanga, Satkhira, Pabna, Jessore, Chapainawabganj, Kushtia, Tangail, Mymensingh, Jhenaidah, and Magura have started indefinite strike for the second consecutive day yesterday.
On Monday, bus and truck drivers in 10 districts had gone on strike, protesting the new RTA, which came into effect across Bangladesh on November 17.
Their demands include rectification of fines imposed on vehicle owners and drivers, and withdrawing restrictions imposed on small vehicles.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Truck Covered-van Goods Transport Owners- Workers Unity Council has called an indefinite strike across the country, demanding the amendment of the new law from Wednesday.
"From Wednesday 6:00am, an indefinite strike will be enforced across the country in protest against the new Road Transport Act," said the council's member secretary Tajul Islam on Tuesday morning.
The council made the announcement at a press briefing held at the city's Tejgaon area and placed their nine-point demand before the government.

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