The Financial Express

Delinquent transport operators

| Updated: November 16, 2021 21:38:57

Delinquent transport operators

The body of a 10-year-old girl child was found on a spot opposite the Jamuna Future Park on Tuesday morning last week. Later, it could be learnt that the girl was run over by a bus. The victim child, who used to sell flowers or beg on commuter buses around the place where she was found dead on the PragatiSarani, fell from one of such vehicles while getting off it.  The tragic accident took place when the bus suddenly picked up speed and ran over the child. Why the driver of the bus behaved so recklessly came out later through police interrogation of the errant driver and his assistant.

Their excuse was that they fled the scene of the accident to avoid being caught and beaten up by the students from a university bus that was behind them when the child fell from their bus. What an excuse for knocking over a helpless child leading to her death! Even though it may sound absurd to some, the reason the offending driver produced in support of his irresponsible behaviour might indeed be true. But the fact remains that it is purely a guess that the driver did make as an excuse to save his skin. And it cannot also be stated with certainty if the students of the said university bus would have actually behaved in a violent manner in case the killer bus kept waiting at the scene. Evidently, the said driver's excuse seems too weak to justify his running down the innocent child. The driver and his assistant responsible for this gratuitous death of a child from an underprivileged social background should be brought to justice. But the loss suffered by the dead child's parents is irredeemable. 

Who is to finally blame for this tragedy? The mindless bus driver, the feared student mob the delinquent driver wanted to flee from or something else? Would a bus driver, say, in Europe, North America, or even in Japan, China, South Korea or Singapore behave the way our driver in question did in a similar situation? Most will agree that the bus drivers of those countries would behave responsibly and the accident of this kind would not have happened. Why? The reason is obvious. In those countries, it is not easy to qualify as a driver. First the would-be bus drivers of those countries have to pass through rigorous tests to become the driver of a public transport. Second, the traffic law is very strict and the law is equally applicable to all.

The members of the public in those countries, on the other hand, do not take the law into their own hands. So, there is no scope of 'mob justice' in those countries. However, this is not to say that everything has to be perfect before the transport drivers of the country may behave responsibly.  If truth be told, historically, the transport sector of Bangladesh has been prone to violence and hooliganism. Violent confrontations between passengers and bus conductors and drivers over bus fare are a chronic issue plaguing the sector since long. Bloody skirmishes between students and transport workers have cost many lives over the years. Incidents of harassment of women passengers is common. Reports of murder after gang rape of lone women passengers on inter-district buses by transport workers abound. Needless to say, such violent encounters between the users and the supposed providers of transport service do hardly speak well for this particular service sector of the country. And it is not only the general public who are at the mercy of the transport mafia, even the normal hardworking transport workers are also exploited by it. But no mafia ever thrived without the patronage of powerful quarters in society.

As such, strong political will on the part of the government will be required to rid the transport workers of their chronic delinquency.  Until that is done, helpless people including women and children will continue to suffer at the hands of reckless transport operators.


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