POST TIME: 20 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 November, 2019 12:03:53 AM
Transport owners and workers must accept terms

Transport owners and workers must accept terms

It is absolutely reprehensible that transport owners and workers are trying to make it difficult for the government in its effort to implement Road Transport Act-2018 by calling an indefinite strike. In 16 districts of the country they created plights of commuters by their mindless move.  This is nothing new. In the past, whenever they found any step of the government to enforce relevant laws of transport against their interest, they made the people including serious patients suffer by their strike and forced the government to go on their way. Last time it was about enforcing the bus fare and stopping the so-called ‘seating’ service in the capital. Most owners of city services stopped plying buses then.

The small number of buses could not serve the commuters who were forced to move in overcrowded buses. The authorities backtracked and the transport owners and workers became the winner: they are continuing taking double or treble the fare from the commuter. Enforcing the Road Transport Act-2018 is about streamlining the countrywide unruly traffic by making punishment for violation of traffic rules severe, mostly in terms of monetary fine.  

Before going for the Act’s application, the authorities gave a trial period when no new fine was exacted. But as the deadline passed, the owners and workers have gone for this strike with the motive so that the new Act could not be implemented. They have complained that the new Act has created an opportunity for police for toll collection. Traffic police in Bangladesh do collect toll. But that cannot be an excuse for going for this strike. Indeed in the recent strike, people of the relevant districts have begun to suffer. What would the government do now? Would it succumb to the pressure of the striking owners and workers? Road communications and bridges minister, Obaidul Quader, said that this time the owners and workers would not be able to force their terms on the government.

We believe the unruly workers must be made to accept the terms of the new Act so that discipline could be brought to our transport system. The government’s strong will in this case would be enough. The commuters will suffer for a while. But government can create an alternative by introducing plying of its BRTC buses in the districts where transport strike has been called. The bottom line is: the government must not fail in bringing the much needed discipline in the whole traffic system in the country.