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Home minister: Transport workers’ demands will be scrutinized

  • Published at 06:39 pm November 21st, 2019
Dhaka Chittagong Highway
File photo: Protesting transport workers block the Dhaka - Chittagong highway by creating road blocks with parked local buses in the middle of the road on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 Focus Bangla

He also said those with driving licenses will have time to update their information until June next year

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that the government will look into the nine demands by the transport owners and workers to check whether there are any inconsistencies.

A day after the transport strike was called off, he said on Thursday the demands have been sent to the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Bridges.

“The demands will be scrutinized for inconsistencies and further action will be taken accordingly,” said the minister, while inaugurating “Traffic Awareness for Fortnight” program at Rajarbagh Police Lines auditorium in Dhaka.

“Many of us do not want to obey the law. If everyone obeyed the law, then no problems would arise. Not just traffic laws, crime will be greatly reduced if everyone abides by the law at all levels. We want a culture to develop where everyone obeys the law.”

DMP Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam said: “If our children take to the streets once again, police, car owners and workers will have no skin on their backs. So be careful. Obey the law.”

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Javed Patwary said: “When the law was enforced on the road, many identified themselves as ‘influential personalities’ and threatened to transfer the respective police officer. No police personnel will be transferred for enforcing the law on the road.”

He also said: “Everyone blames the traffic police for any problems on the road. Apart from the police, several agencies like city corporation, Rajuk [Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha], and BRTA operate under these traffic controls.”

A city's road needs to comprise of 20% of the total space. But in Dhaka’s case it is only 8%. This is less than one-third of an ideal city. On the other hand, there are specified bus stops but the drivers do not follow those, he further said.

Earlier, the home minister inaugurated the program by releasing balloons and destroying a hydraulic horn at the Rajarbagh Police Lines field. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) will operate the traffic awareness fortnight from November 21 to December 5.

The home minister said that there are some complications in updating a driver's licence. The matter came up after discussions with the transport owners on Wednesday night.

“We have discussed their claims. Drivers have been given till June 30 next year to update their licences,” Asaduzzaman said.

He also said that those who drive buses and trucks on highways have to drive long hours. Hence, they need to rest after a certain time. A driver has to take a compulsory rest after driving for eight hours.

“The prime minister has directed the construction of a resting place for drivers on the highways. We are working on it,” he added.

Khandaker Enayetullah, secretary general of Bangladesh Transport Owners Association, said that a vested group is trying to create chaos by taking advantage of the weakness of transport workers. They are trying to create a volatile environment in the country.

Until next June, anyone can drive their heavy vehicles with existing licences. In the meantime, the licence has to be updated. However, no one will be exempted for obtaining illegal licence, he further said. 

High-up police officials, students, transport workers were present at the program, among others.