THE road transport fiasco, with tens of thousands of people having to suffer in Dhaka city on Wednesday, caused by a rally organised by ruling Awami League in Suhrawardy Udyan marking the Mach 7 speech of the founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, caused inconvenience. That day, some roads were closed to public to carry activists of the party to their destination while public transports were fewer than usual causing lanes and by-lanes to be clogged with small vehicles. Because of severe congestion compounded by party activists joining the rally on foot, buses and trucks, commuters were seen getting down from transports and walking to their destinations under the scorching sun. Since noon, as New Age reported on Thursday, roads stretching between Shahbagh and Matsya Bhaban, Shahbagh and Doyel Chattar, and Bangla Motor and Matsya Bhaban remained shut down. Buses on different routes, including Motijheel and Gulistan routes, were diverted from Karwan Bazar and Bangla Motor to Moghbazar crossing and some were diverted from Science Laboratory as they were not allowed to go to Motijheel.
Eventually, the congestion spread to most parts of the city, including Nilkhet, Dhanmondi, Kalabagan, Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Banani, Gulshan, Tejgaon, Moghbazar, Karwan Bazar and Motijheel areas, creating unthinkable sufferings for commuters especially children, women, elderly people and ailing people. The blame for the situation, however, squarely lies with the government as it creates a situation resembling a general strike by not allowing vehicles to run the roads when programmes are organised by political parties in the opposition camp and closes roads to facilitate activists and people to attend programmes when they are organised by the ruling party. The reality is that there should be political programmes being organised by different political parties but they need to be organised without creating obstacles to the movement of ordinary people. On both such occasions, most of the people having no other alternatives need to walk along the road for hours to reach their home or other destinations due to scarcity of transports; some find their shortest routes closed for them and are obliged to tramp along to reach their destinations. This kind of sufferings ordinary people are subjected to because of political programmes need to be averted. What is unacceptable and unjustifiable is that the government remains at the centre of the inconvenience by shutting down the city when opposition political parties hold programmes and by occupying roads and keeping them closed when the ruling Awami League holds the programmes.
What the ruling party needs to keep in mind is the sufferings that both the initiatives of the party often cause. The incumbents need to realise that all political parties have equal rights to hold political programmes but these programmes should not be held causing any inconvenience to ordinary people and their daily movement.
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