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Commuters suffer as bus, truck strike continues in 15 districts

  • Published at 11:11 am November 19th, 2019
Satkhira Transport strike
People lean towards other local forms of transport other than buses for their daily commute in Satkhira on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Transport workers want the amendment of the Road Transport Act

Bus and truck drivers in Khulna, Narail, Jhenaidah, Meherpur, Kushtia, Chuadanga, Satkhira, Pabna, Jessore, Chapainawabganj, Kushtia, Tangail, Mymensingh, Jhenaidah, and Magura are continuing their strike for the second day.

No bus left the eight districts since Tuesday morning

On Monday, bus and truck drivers in 10 districts had gone on strike, protesting the new Road Transport Act 2018 (RTA) which came into effect across Bangladesh on November 17.

Buses at a bus stand in Satkhira on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune

The demands include rectification of fines imposed on vehicle owners and drivers, and withdrawing restrictions imposed on small vehicles.

The 10 districts were Jessore, Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira, Magura, Narail, Jhenaidah, Meherpur, Kushtia, and Chuadanga.

The unannounced strike had crippled the country’s south-western districts since Monday morning, causing immense suffering to passengers and cargo transport.

Transport workers protesting on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway in Gazipur on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune 

Meanwhile, thousands of passengers were in distress as bus services were suddenly suspended in the districts. They have been trying to reach their destinations on three-wheelers paying higher fares.

Transport workers, including bus drivers, said the new law imposes death penalty for drivers if anyone dies in a road accident and a fine of Tk5 lakh if anyone injured. 

They said a driver cannot afford to pay such a large sum of money as the maximum salary of a driver is around Tk15,000-TK20,000. 

As such, the transport workers refused to resume their services until the law is amended.

Our correspondents Md Hedait Hossain Molla,  Md Tauhid-Uz-Zaman, Nayan Khondoker, Kudrote Khoda Sobuj, Mehedi Hasan, KM Saiful Islam, Asaduzzaman Sarder, Emroz Khandakar Bappi, Md Tauhid Uz Zaman, SM Samsur Rahman, Abdur Rouf Pavel, Abdullah Al Numan, Kudrote Khoda Sobuj Md Anwar Hossain and Nayan Khondoker, contributed to the story.