Home affairs minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday called on agitating students to return to classrooms from the streets assuring them of meeting their demands.
‘We have taken cognisance of their demands we got from different channels and we are also taking action to ensure the highest punishment of the perpetrators,’ he told reporters after an inter-ministerial meeting with senior road transport sector leaders at the ministry.
‘We are requesting the students to go back to classes as people are suffering,’ he said, adding that all the demands for road safety were logical and the government would take all measures from the day to implement the demands.
Following deaths of two Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College students in an accident at Kurmitola caused by two racing buses on Sunday, agitated students continued their protests for
the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday seeking justice for the deaths and demanding steps to establish discipline in the road transport sector.
Information minister Hasanul Haq Inu, shipping minister Shajahan Khan, also the Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation executive president, state minister for Rural Development and cooperatives Mashiur Rahman Ranga, also the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association executive president, attended the meeting.
The home minister alleged that vested interests were taking the advantage and vandalised total 309 vehicles between July 29 and July 31 and set eight vehicles, including one police vehicle and one fire service vehicle, on fire.
Asked about alleged attack on students by transport workers in Signboard area, he said that if blockade continued for long, some misunderstanding could take place because of vested interests.
‘From now on, representatives of owner and worker organisations will check vehicles’ documents and driving licences at starting points and bus and truck terminals across the country,’ he said, adding that if necessary authorities would also be present there.
‘Our security force will also be on roads and they will challenge anyone, which was also a demand from the students,’ he said.
Owners association would make the drivers aware while the government would bring back order in transport sector checking racing among buses on roads, he said.
The students’ demands included highest punishment for the bus drivers responsible for the accident, withdrawal of the shipping minister’s comments made on Sunday and unconditional apology by Shajahan, footbridges and safety measures, speed breakers especially in front of schools and colleges.
The demands also included taking all responsibilities for the deceased and injured by the government, carrying students on buses for half fare, allowing no unfit buses and unlicensed drivers and banning carrying passengers beyond the capacity.
Shajahan assured the meeting that he would help implement the demands in phases.
The meeting was also attended, among others, by inspector general of police Mohammad Jabed Patwary, Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority chairman Md Moshiar Rahman.
In another briefing at Shetu Bhaban, road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader said that the draft of the Road Transport Bill would be placed before cabinet in its next meeting for approval. If enacted, the law would check irregularities in the sector, he said.
Law minister Anisul Huq also told reporters at the ministry that the proposed law, already vetted by the ministry, would ensure speedy trial of road accidents.
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