Meeting underway between BRTA and transport owners amid nationwide strike

Amid the transport strike over a spike in fuel prices the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) are meeting with representatives of owners to look for a solution.

The nationwide indefinite strike, which has crippled the country, has entered the third day on Sunday.

BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder, Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association Secretary General Khandker Enayet Ullah, Bangladesh Bus-Truck Owners Association Assistant General Secretary Rakesh Ghosh, representatives from several government agencies and transport-related bodies, including the Bangladesh Transport Workers’ Federation, are attending the meeting at the BRTA offices in the city’s Mohakhali.

People wait for transports on a sidewalk in Aminbazar, Dhaka as transport owners and workers observe a nationwide strike in protest of the recent diesel price hike, on Friday, November 5, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

On Wednesday, the government increased diesel and kerosene prices by Tk15 per litre — from Tk65 to Tk80 — in order to keep them in line with rising fuel prices in the global market.

In protest of the move, different associations of public and cargo transport owners and workers on Friday launched a strike for an indefinite period, inconveniencing commuters across the country.

They demand either a rise in fares or a reversal of the 23 percent hike in order to resume services.

On Saturday, passengers remained stranded at bus stands and scrambled to find alternate means of transport at hiked prices and at risk of their lives.

Much to the misery of commuters, launch owners on Saturday joined the nationwide public transport strike to protest rising fuel prices.

The launch owners demanded a 100% increase in fares to resume operations if the raised prices were maintained.

An aerial shot shows people using a pickup for transpiration in Matuail area in the absence of public transports as transport owners and workers observe a nationwide strike in protest of the recent diesel price hike, on Saturday, November 6, 2021 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

On Saturday, a section of leaders of transport workers and owners met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal but the meeting concluded inconclusively.

“We’ve decided to continue the strike until the decision of the fuel price hike is withdrawn or transport fare is readjusted,” said Additional Secretary General of Bangladesh Covered Van, Truck Owners Association Abdul Motaleb while talking to reporters emerging from a meeting with the home minister at the latter’s residence.

In 2015, the government revised the fare per kilometre travelled at Tk 1.70 for city service buses and Tk 1.60 for minibuses. The minimum fare was set at Tk 7 for city buses and Tk 5 for minibuses.

In 2016, the fare for long-haul diesel-run buses and minibuses was set at Tk 1.42 per kilometre.

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