New road transport law doesn't reflect public opinion: PWAB

FE Report | Published: September 23, 2018 10:42:12 | Updated: September 23, 2018 16:58:10

Passengers Welfare Association of Bangladesh (PWAB) has criticised the recently passed Road Transport Act-2018 saying the public opinion about road safety has not been reflected in it.

The platform working to press for welfare of general passengers said as if the law has been turned into a 'license' responding to the demand of the transport workers as some influential associations related to the transport sector were involved in the law-making process.

Moreover, public suffering is likely to continue as before since there will be no role of the general public in implementation of the new law.

The organisation expressed its dissatisfaction over the loopholes in the law at a press conference held on Saturday at a city auditorium, a statement said.

PWAB secretary general Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, central leader Mohiuddin Ahmed and vice chairman of Road Safety Foundation MA Hamid Sharif spoke on the occasion, among others.

In his speech, Mozammel Hoque said the new law has been formulated ignoring many issues proposed by the civil society in the interest of road safety.

Despite a strong demand from the civil society, there wasn't kept a provision in the bill for forming an independent investigation committee to probe road accidents, he said.

"Punishment for killing any individual by reckless and irresponsible driving has been fixed at five years' imprisonment defying the High Court's directive," he commented.

He also said the law provides no scope for participation of passengers in its implementation even though several registered rights platforms are active to raise their voice about the road safety issue.

"Commuters have been deprived of their rights owing to their zero representation in formation of the new law," he said.

The new law has limitation hampering the process to address various issues like public harassment, charging extra fare and anarchy in the roads.

"The passengers are still likely to remain hostages to the transport owners and workers," he said.

The conference was told that the law does not reflect the demands placed by the students in recent times although the government paid special attention to them.

There is no clear guideline in the law to make corruption-free the government agencies, including Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). The much-talked-about new road transport law was enacted in Parliament on September 19.

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