Bangladesh HC orders monthly wages for public bus drivers

M Moneruzzaman | Published: 00:00, Sep 13,2019 | Updated: 01:22, Sep 13,2019


Bus companies must appoint drivers on monthly wages and give up the practice of making payments on daily or trip basis within six months to check reckless driving mainly blamed for road accidents, the High Court Division said in the full verdict in the Rajib Hasan compensation case released on Monday.

In the brief verdict delivered on June 20, the bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam had directed Swajan Paribhan and Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation to jointly pay Tk 50 lakh, that is Tk 25 lakh each to two minor orphaned brothers of Rajib within two months.

Titumir Government College student Rajib, 22, was killed in road accident in April 2018 due to rash driving of buses belonging to Swajan Paribahan and BRTC.

Sajan Paribahan directors were directed pay equal amounts totalling Tk 25 lakh to Mahedi Hasan Bappi and Abdullah Hridoy, Rajib’s siblings.

The verdict says that the compensation would in no way remove other liabilities of the respondents including the government as well as the Swajan Paribahan and the BRTC.

The 27-page verdict says that under its writ jurisdiction the High Court Division is empowered to award lump compensations for payment by ‘wrong doers’ in favour of the victims’ family members.    

In the verdict, the court issued 10 directives to the government, four of which require immediate implementation and six others in six months to curb road accidents across the country and restore traffic discipline.

Four directives include prohibiting blowing horns near hospitals, educational institutions and residential areas, keeping doors of running buses closed and picking no passengers except at the bus stoppages and holding random dope tests of drivers while checking their relevant documents.  

The six other directives require implementation by the government and the other respondents in six months including appointing bus drivers on  monthly wages, banning the existing practice of  hiring drivers on daily or trip basis by the transport companies, holding drivers’ dope and sight tests before issuing and renewing driving licences, installing maximum number of close-circuit cameras on major roads, especially at  strategic locations in all the metropolitan cities to facilitate  traffic management and investigations and rationalization of bus routes and bringing all bus companies of each zone under one company in all the metropolitan cities.

The directives also require zone wise colouring buses in cities.

The government has been directed to enforce the Road Transport Act 2018.

The court said in the observations that the recommendations made by the enquiry committee on road safety should be addressed to prevent road accidents.

Rajib Hossain, 22, was lone earner for his orphaned brothers.

The right forearm of Rajib travelling in a BRTC double decker was severed when a Swajan Pariibahan bus trying to overtake dashed the double decker at the Hotel Sonargaon Crossing on April 3, 2018.

The verdict was delivered after hearing a public interest writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Ruhul Quddus Kazal.

The PIL writ petition demanded Tk one crore in compensations from Swajan Paribahan and the BRTC for Rajib’s brothers.

A report published by New Age on August 31 says reckless bus driving by unskilled and untrained drivers continues to kill people ignoring the law and school children’s movement for road safety.

The report said quoting Buet professor and director of Accident Research Institute Mizanur Rahman that around 98 per cent fatal road accidents were caused by reckless driving.

According to Bangladesh Road Transport Authority statistics compiled on the basis of FIRs in the first four months of the current year, 427 people were killed and 658 were injured in 848 accidents in the country.

According to BRTA, around 41 lakh motor vehicles were registered and around 32.82 lakh driving licences were issued until July.

According to Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh report 273 people were killed and 849 others injured in 232 road accidents across the country during the last Eid-ul-Fitr vacation.

At least 224 people were killed and 866 injured in 203 road accidents across the country during the Eid-ul-Azha vacation says another PWAB report.

Road safety experts said that the traffic indiscipline would continue until and unless transport workers were brought under regular wage structure with standard working hours.

In the capital, buses of even the same company are seen trying to overtake and pick up more passengers to augment the earnings of hired drivers and their helpers.

On June 25, 2018, prime minister Sheikh Hasina issued directives to allow bus drivers on long routes rest after remaining on the wheels for five hours, alternative drivers on long routes, training for drivers and their assistants, enforcing seatbelt compliance.

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