Implementation of Road Transport Act delayed

Shahin Akhter | Published: 00:44, Jan 05,2019


Nothing has proved effective in streamlining city bus services as buses continue to break rule by picking and dropping passengers in the middle of road amid risk of fatal accident. The photo was taken in New Market area in Dhaka on Friday. — Ali Hossain Mintu

Road Transport Act, a much talked-about law passed in 2018, is yet to become effective even after about four months since it was passed in the wake of student protests across the country for road safety.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority is currently working to prepare rules for the law but officials
could not give any date when the work would be completed.
Road safety campaigners have alleged that the government is only delaying implementation of this law on flimsy pretext as many laws became effective without having any rules.
Both Road Transport Act 2018 and Digital Security Act, 2018 were passed on September 19 but the latter became effective though no rule was formulated for implementing it.
Campaigners have alleged that the authorities are trying to secure interests of transport owners and workers while they doubt the effectiveness of the law which they say has many loopholes.
Jatiya Sangsad on September 19, 2018 passed Road Transport Bill replacing Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983 in the wake of countrywide student protests after two students of Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College were killed by a reckless bus in Dhaka on July 29 of the year.
BRTA chairman Md Moshiar Rahman recently told New Age that they were currently working to prepare rules for the act which would become effective soon.
The authority director (road safety) Sk Md Mahbub-E-Rabbani told New Age Thursday that they had sent a proposal to the road transport and bridges ministry for appointing consultants to prepare the rules but they were yet to get any decision.
‘Without rules some sections of the act can be implemented but not the other sections. That is why it will not be wise to implement the act without the rules,’ he argued.
He, however, could not say exactly how many days it would take to form the rules.
Supreme Court advocate and Road Safety Foundation vice-president Jyotirmoy Barua said that the logic of not implementing the law without the rules was not appropriate.
The system of preparing rules within six months of enactment of any law was followed in most cases in Bangladesh, he said.
Rules of Bangladesh Labour Law had been formed in 2015 while the act had been enacted in 2006 and Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009 had no rules as yet, he pointed out.
He also alleged that there were huge controversies over some sections of the law while there were very little reflections of the demands that were placed after the deaths of two college students.
‘The law is more for protecting interests of the owners than those of the passengers and workers,’ he observed, expressing his doubt if this law would at all change the existing situation.
Manjuly Kazi, Nirapad Sarak Chai women affairs secretary and wife of journalist Mishuk Munier who died in a road accident, alleged that BRTA
was only trying to save its own skin by talking about rules.
If there were good will, the law would be implemented immediately, she noted.
Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh secretary general Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury alleged that the law was enacted only to secure the interests of owners and workers as it had been formed in close collaboration with the owners’ and workers’ organisations.
‘The government still fears strikes by owners and workers if the law is implemented,’ he said.
As per BRTA data, prepared based on first information reports of police, till September 2018, a total of 1,853 people were killed in road accidents, while 2,513 people were killed and 1,898 injured in 2,562 accidents in 2017.

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