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10 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM

Sufferings mount as rickshaw pullers continue demo

Sufferings mount as 
rickshaw pullers continue demo
The Rampura U-loop gets nagging traffic snarls, commuters walk to their destinations on foot underneath as rickshaw and van pullers blockade Pragati Sarani (inset) in the capital yesterday during their demonstration against the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority’s ban on plying non-motorised three-wheelers on this road. Independent and Star Mail Photos

Commuters faced massive traffic disruption in large parts of the capital yesterday for the second consecutive day due to the blockade programme of aggrieved rickshaw pullers. The rickshaw pullers demanded that the ban on plying of rickshaws on three major thoroughfares of the city be lifted.

On receiving assurances from law enforcers, they withdrew their protests until July 11, but promised a tougher protest if their demands are not met within that period.

The law enforcers, however, did not specify any date and did not say they would actually allow the rickshaw pullers to ply on those three routes by July 11.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the authorities concerned to  construct separate lanes for slow-moving vehicles like rickshaws and vans on the roads and highways of the country.

Insur Ali, general secretary of Ricksahw Van Owners’ Association, told The Independent yesterday that they were happy with the Prime Minister's directives for a separate lane for rickshaws.

“We believe our demands will be met. If they allow

us to ply on the city roads again, we will not block any

roads,” he said.

Thousands of rickshaw drivers started occupying areas in Kuril, Badda, Rampura and Malibagh-Chowdhurypara from the morning. They halted traffic from Malibagh via Pragati Sarani to Kuril via Rampura. Owners of rickshaws too joined the protest on Pragati Sarani and chanted slogans in support

of their demand. On July 3, the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) decided to ban rickshaws on three major throughfares in Dhaka. The routes are: Pragati Sharani Road from Kuril to Sayedabad via Rampura and Khilgaon, Mirpur Road from Gabtoli to Azimpur via Asad Gate, and New Elephant Road from Science Laboratory intersection to Shahbagh intersection.

Following the road blockade by rickshaw pullers yesterday, huge tailbacks were created on both sides of the road. Office-goers and students of different schools and colleges were the worst sufferers as they got stuck in the gridlock. People were seen walking to reach their destinations.

Abdus Salam (56), who was found sitting beside the road, told this correspondent that he came to North Badda from Kuril by walking. “I have to go to Malibagh. I have no other choice except walking. I am unable to walk now. The distance is way too much for walking,” he said.

Dulal Hasan, a resident of Moghbazar, was taking his child home from school. He said his seven-year-old daughter was tired after walking a long diatnce.

Like them, hundreds of commuters, including women and children, had to walk to their destination. Commuters were forced to pay double for available mode of transport, such as bike-sharing rides, to go to their destinations.

“No CNG-run auto or other public transport was available due to the tailback in Rampura area. We had to pay double for available transports or walk to their destinations,” said Sohrab uddin, an employee of a private bank.

A rickshaw puller, Rahim Hawlader, said they were demonstrating against the government move as it rendered a big blow to their livelihood.

“This is a one-sided decision by the authorities, who didn’t think about the livelihood of rickshaw pullers,” said another rickshaw-puller, Mahbub.

However, a significant change in the traffic situation was seen in the New Market area of the capital. Mirpur Road was free from traffic jam and vehicles there were moving with ease.

Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) mayor Sayeed Khokon invited the leaders of the agitating rickshaw pullers to his office at Nagar Bhaban over a tea session to resolve the issue.

“Rickshawves ha been banned on several major streets for the sake of city dwellers. Any demonstration that inflict suffering to millions of people is not acceptable,” he said.

“I invited them (rickshaw pullers) at Nagar Bhaban for tea. I will listen to their demands if they have any. We’ll find a way out through discussion,” he added.

Hinting that the ban will remain in place, Khokon said:  “We did not see any picture of traffic disruption on the three roads where the ban was imposed.”

“Everyone has the right to protest but not by disrupting people’s lives. We need to change the language and style of the protest,” he added.

Defending the decision to ban rickshaws on three major roads, the DSCC mayorsaid that there were adequate number of public transports on those roads. “We’re also making the pavements free for smooth movement of city dwellers,” he added.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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