Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday asked the authorities concerned to stop plying unfit vehicles and their unhealthy race on roads to avert accidents.
‘Plying of unfit vehicles and their unhealthy race on the roads must be stopped … stern actions will have to be taken if anybody unnecessarily increases the size or other things of the trucks and buses,’ she said.
She added: ‘The mentality of earning some money by fixing the vehicles somehow will have to be discarded.’
The prime minister issued the directives while addressing a discussion as the chief guest at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh Auditorium at Farmgate in the capital this morning.
Road Transport and Highways Division arranged the discussion on the occasion of the National Road Safety Day-2019.
Sheikh Hasina also reiterated her call to all concerned including pedestrians and drivers to properly follow traffic rules to avoid road accidents.
‘We don’t want anybody to die or to be crippled in any road crash … that’s why we want safe road system along with peace and discipline persists,’ she said.
Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader presided over the function, while chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on road transport and bridges ministry Ekabbor Hossain and executive president of Road Transport Workers Federation Shajahan Khan, MP, took part in the discussion.
Road Transport and Highways Division secretary Md Nazrul Islam delivered the welcome address and chairman of ‘Nirapad Sarak Chai’ campaign actor Iliyas Kanchan and secretary general of Sarak Paribahan Malik Samity Khandakar Enayetullah also spoke.
The prime minister said the traffic police will always have to stay alert so that the unfit vehicles cannot ply the roads. ‘The uncontrolled speed of the vehicles will have to be controlled by fixing their speed limit on roads,’ she said.
She said side by side with drivers, cautiousness of the pedestrians is very much essential to avert road accidents. ‘All will have to remain alert in using mobile phones during crossing roads or driving vehicles,’ she added.
Sheikh Hasina also said the footpaths will have to be freed from encroachment and parking of vehicles here and there will have to be stopped so that the people can move without hassle.
The prime minister said there should have arrangements for rest of the drivers so that they do not need to drive for more than five hours at a stretch.
‘Arrangements for alternative drivers will also have to be made for long distance vehicles,’ she said, adding the owners of the vehicles will have to remain alert to this end.
Sheikh Hasina put emphasis on speedy implementation of the Road Transport Act-2018 for road safety. ‘It’s very much necessary to execute the law,’ she said.
The prime minister said her government has taken steps to build rest rooms beside the highways for the passengers and drivers. ‘Four sites have already been identified for setting up such rest rooms and it will be built across the country in phases,’ she said.
In this regard, Sheikh Hasina urged the private sector to take initiatives for setting up restaurants beside the highways, saying that it will create a scope for their business alongside ensuring rest of the passengers and drivers.
The prime minister said there should have an arrangement for teaching traffic rules in every school. ‘I think an initiative should be taken from the home ministry to send their representatives to every school to create awareness about traffic rules among the students,’ she said.
Pointing out that ensuring road safety is the prime importance of her government, Sheikh Hasina said the government is implementing many programmes to achieve this goal.
‘We have formulated the National Road Safety Strategic Action Plan 2017-20, while the SDG Action Plan has been prepared and is being implemented in accordance with the road safety related targets,’ she said.
The prime minister said the government has set up a National Road Safety Council aimed at building a safe road network in Bangladesh. ‘This Council’s all recommendations need to be implemented by concerned authorities,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken a project to train 1 lakh new drivers. ‘Now, we are going to take project to train more 3 lakh professional drivers,’ she said.
She continued saying on: ‘We’re setting up Vehicle Inspection Centers and Driving Training Centers in 17 districts.’
Agreeing with the proposal of actor Iliyas Kanchan, the pioneer of the safe road movement in the country, on arrangements of proper training of the all kinds of drivers, the prime minister said her government wants to make such an arrangement up to the upazila level.
‘The people intending to drive vehicles whatever might be will have to take licenses after receiving proper training,’ she said.
The prime minister said her government wants to advance Bangladesh further and build it as a developed and prosperous country.
‘We’re working to achieve the goal and we want that everybody will work with their respective responsibility in this regard because the country belongs to all,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said all will have to think about the future of a family if any member dies or is injured in a road accident.
‘It’s not the responsibility of the government or drivers alone to ensure safe road … all citizens including the pedestrians have a responsibility in this regard and I hope that all will perform this duty properly,’ she said.
The officers and employees of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority bring out a procession in the capital on Tuesday marking the National Road Safety Day. — New Age photo
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