The DMP chief added that police will take strict action against vehicles lacking fitness papers, registration, and permits
Admitting that police and road authorities have failed to maintain road discipline, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner said they cannot deny this responsibility.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia made the statement at a view-exchange program on traffic discipline and awareness, at Mohanagar Natto Moncho, in Dhaka’s Gulistan on Thursday.
Bus drivers, drivers’ assistants, transport workers, bus owners, transport worker leaders, and the police sat down for the meeting following a road accident that claimed a student’s life on Tuesday.
Asaduzzaman said: “We have failed to bring discipline to Dhaka's roads. We cannot deny this responsibility anymore. No one can deny this fact.”
Police will take strict action against vehicles lacking fitness papers, registration, and permits, he said.
“There are rundown-vehicles plying the streets of Dhaka which are almost broken down and are not fit to be operated,” said the DMP commissioner.
“Additionally, buses are run on a daily contract basis after being rented out from owners. This leads to competition on the roads to meet the Tk2000 to Tk3000 payment to bus owners,” he added.
The commissioner recommended that drivers and assistants be paid monthly wages instead, and that ticket booths be set up; to avoid the competition on the roads that leads to such accidents.
To owners and employees of bus companies, Asaduzzaman said: “Strictly maintain loading and unloading passengers at designated bus stops.”
“Failure to do so will result in immediate impoundment of the vehicle,” he added.
To the pedestrians, the commissioner said that drivers are not only to blame in this; pedestrians are also frequently breaking the traffic laws.
“Pedestrians do not use the designated foot overbridges and zebra crossing to cross roads. Instead they jaywalk, while wearing headphones, endangering themselves and others.
“In such cases, pedestrians should not only be fined but also be detained to show how serious the matter actually is,” he added.
Ticket systems to launch from next month
Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association Secretary General Khandaker Enayet Ullah claimed that the two main reasons behind the road accidents are: intoxicated drivers and the competition to meet the daily contract payments.
“From now on drivers and assistants will be paid monthly wages, and buses will operate under ticket systems to avoid the competition on the roads that leads to accidents.
“Initially we will set up temporary ticket counters under umbrellas and eventually set up permanent booths.”
“In terms of intoxicated drivers, they will undergo drug tests by the law authorities who will make sure the drivers are fit to drive,” he added.
Osman Ali, general secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers’ Federation, claimed that a total of four million vehicles are on the streets across the country.
“However, only 2.3 million are licensed drivers; the BRTA must take necessary initiatives in this regard.
“Movement of all types of three wheelers and ‘Leguna’ should be banned from all highways. Previously, the police had tried to ban them but public representatives often intervened,” he added.
He therefore urged the prime minister to strictly instruct MPs or public representatives to cause no interference.
On Tuesday, an honours first year student of the International Relations Department at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) was killed in an accident in front of the Jamuna Future Park in Dhaka.
Abrar's death sparked a massive protest by students from different universities, who have been holding demonstrations by blocking the streets in different parts of Dhaka, demanding justice for Abrar and capital punishment for those responsible.
Later on Wednesday, some protesters postponed their demonstrations by a week, until March 28.
This is the second wave of student protests demanding road safety, after students took the streets all across the country in August last year, after the death of two students who were run over by a bus on the Airport Road in Dhaka.