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Imbroglio over new transport law

Truckers call indefinite strike

FE REPORT | Published: November 20, 2019 10:22:43 | Updated: November 20, 2019 12:59:37


FE file photo

The imbroglio over enforcement of the newly-enacted transport law continued on Tuesday as passenger vehicles stayed off roads in many parts of the country.

Added to the imbroglio was the truckers' call to enforce their indefinite strike from 6:00 am today (Wednesday) across the country to press for an amendment to the law.

Bangladesh Truck, Covered-van Good Transportation Workers and Owners Association made the strike call on Tuesday.

The association put forward their nine-point demand including amendment to the act by reducing fines and punishment in adjustment with the earnings of transport owners and workers.

Amid the imbroglio, authorities in the capital city continued drives meant for strict enforcement of the Road Transport Act 2018.

However, leaders of road transport owners and workers said they did not call any strike in any part of the country.

Some drivers at the district level might have refrained from running their vehicles, apprehending harsh punishment in the event of failure to produce necessary documents, they said.

Reports were received from different districts attesting to vehicular movement coming to a halt. But there was no drive conducted by the district administration or police in any part of the country except in the capital and the port city.

However, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) sat with stakeholders, including DIG police, Traffic North, representatives of road transport owners and workers on the day to discuss the overall situation in the wake of the law coming into effect.

The law took effect more than two weeks after the act had been made effective in a gazette notification by the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges.

Though the minister concerned called upon all including transport workers and owners to abide by the law for the sake of road safety, workers' unions in some districts went on strike demanding an amendment to it.

Our Correspondent in Jashore reports, the bus services on 18 routes from the district remained suspended for the third consecutive day on Tuesday. But truck movement was normal.

But bus and truck movement in Rajshahi was normal except cases in which drivers stayed off roads fearing punishment for lacking valid documents.

President of District Motor Workers Union Jahangir Alam told Our Correspondent in Rajshahi that their association was not supporting any strike called in different parts of the country.

He said all transport workers were asked to carry valid documents to avoid any punishment.

Our Correspondent in Khulna reports, though most of the drivers refrained from running buses in the district, there was no link of the union with the withdrawal of their vehicles.

The District Motor Vehicle Workers Union's President and General Secretary said drivers were not ready to drive on the road in the present situation. Goffar Biswas, leader of a section of district bus owners association, also said drivers were not driving their vehicles due to lack of documents.

There was neither any meeting nor any procession by any quarter to stop plying of transport, he told the FE correspondent.

Officials said the BRTA meeting took note of the observations of transport leaders and assured them of sending those to the ministry concerned for taking necessary steps.

They said representatives of law enforcing agencies informed the BRTA that they were observing the situation and had no plan to enforce the act right now.

Khandaker Enayet Ullah, Abul Kalam Azad and Osman Ali, among other leaders of transport owners and workers, attended the BRTA meeting.

BRTA director (enforcement) said seven magistrate courts were running in the city on Tuesday. They filed 79 cases and charged fines worth Tk 119,200.

smunima@yahoo.com

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