Sunday, 16 January 2022

48-hour transport strike cripples Bangladesh


DHAKA: A 48-hour strike by transport workers demanding amendments to the recently passed “Road Transport Act 2018” threw normal life out of gear across Bangladesh.

No buses were in the streets in capital city Dhaka, leaving hundreds of thousands of travelers, especially commuters, patients and students stranded.

Man-peddled rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and private cars were seen to dominate the urban streets.

Tens of thousands of people in Dhaka’s major bus terminals suffered immensely as workers suddenly on Saturday night announced to suspend transport operations totally for two days from Sunday morning.

Almost all long-distance buses also reportedly stayed indoors.

Transport owners and workers demand amendments to the recently enacted “Road Transport Act 2018”.

Relevant government authorities are reportedly negotiating with the representatives of the owners and workers who are demanding amendment of the Road Transport Act 2018 that was passed in parliament last month with provisions for stringent punishment to the traffic offenders.

The act, which now awaits presidential approval before it officially becomes law, stipulates that the traffic offenders will risk being sentenced up to five years in non-bailable jail or a fine of 500,000 taka (5,913 US dollars) or both.

According to the act, if it is proved that a driver has intentionally killed anyone, it said the incident will fall under either section 302 (murder) or section 304 (culpable homicide) of the penal code.

The country’s existing transport law entitled the maximum penalty of three years behind bars with the provision of bail.

The move came in the wake of the countrywide student protests that erupted after two students died on the spot, while other nine were injured after they were run over by a bus in a reckless driving incident in July.

No untoward incidents owing to the strike have so far been reported.


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