People responsible for road accidents would get punished as per gravity of the crime, said shipping minister Shajahan Khan on Sunday, breaking almost into a giggle as he faced questions from journalists at Bangladesh Secretariat in the capital.
When reporters asked him about the deaths of two students after a reckless bus ran over them in the capital, the minister, his face beaming with a laugher, threw back another question.
‘In Maharashtra of India,’ he cited, ‘33 people were killed in a bus accident. Do the people over there talk like people do here?’
To further reinforce his claim, Shajahan pleaded that at least16 people are killed every hour in India.
Asked about punishment of the bus staff, he said there was no scope to oppose the punishment of those responsible for the Kurmitola bus accident.
Pressed for his comment on whether the bus drivers were getting his shelter, the minister, who also holds the post of executive president of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers’ Federation, asked journalists not to ask any more question on the issue.
‘Let us rather begin today’s topic,’ he added.
It is mentioned that the same minister in 2011 had said that anyone able to distinguish between ‘cows and goats on the road’ could hold a driving licence.
Shajahan was attending a contract signing ceremony held at the secretariat to purchase Mobile Harbour Crane for Mongla Port.
The crane would be purchased at a cost of Tk 42.70 crore for fast and safe handling of containers, officials said.
A German crane manufacturer company would build the crane while local Saif Powertec Limited would supply it, they said.
In the ceremony, the minister also said in 2017-18 fiscal Mongla Port made profit of Tk 95 crore.
Currently nine projects were going on and six were in pipeline to improve the port, he added.
The contract was signed by Mongla Port Authority chairman commodore AKM Faruque Hasan and Saif Powertec Limited’s managing director Tarafder Md Ruhul Amin.
The meeting was also attended by shipping ministry secretary Md Abdus Samad.