Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader has ordered the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) to take stringent action against public transport services charging extra fare from passengers.
“We have received some complaints. I am urging the authority to increase monitoring in those areas. I would also request the passengers to remain careful as bus terminals and the vehicles themselves could be a source of the coronavirus,” Quader said in a video conference with officials of the Metro Rail Project on Wednesday, reports bdnews24.com.
“I also urge transport owners and workers to be mindful of the issue and I've directed the BRTA to take stern action against those who charge passengers more than the fixed fare.”
On June 1, the government allowed public transport services to resume operations at half the passenger capacity while imposing a set of health and hygiene directives.
Transport fares were raised by 60 per cent in order to offset the losses faced by transport services due to the reduced passenger capacity. However, citizens have complained about being charged more than the stipulated 60 per cent higher fares and transport operators defying the hygiene rules.
Reluctance to follow the hygiene rules is contributing to the surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, according to Quader.
“The government is being lauded at home and abroad for taking different measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. People have been urged to follow the safe distancing and hygiene rules during the lockdown and even after it was lifted,” he said.
“Unfortunately, some people are reluctant to follow the hygiene rules, causing the infection to spread further. This negligence may take a toll not only on them, but also on their families and others.”
Quader urged everyone to create awareness about the disease and the safety measures, failing which the government will be “forced to impose stricter measures to preserve public health.”
As the coronavirus crisis worsens, the government is also considering dividing neighbourhoods into specific zones, based on the population density, the rate of infection, number of patients, communication with the nearby areas and testing facilities, the minister said. “Experts are looking into it,” he said.