Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader is scheduled to place the draft ‘Road Transport Bill, 2018’ before the parliament today.
The announcement of placing the bill today was made in an urgent release by the ministry on Wednesday evening.
The minister at the 11th Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority board meeting at its head office in the capital on Wednesday morning, however, said he would place the bill before the parliament on Sunday.
At the meeting, Obaidul had said that once the bill was placed in parliament, it would be sent to the standing committee and added, ‘I hope the bill will be enacted in the last session of the parliament in October.’
The initiative of repealing the Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1983 was taken nine years back while the recent initiatives came in the wake of countrywide street protests by students demanding safe roads and justice after two of their fellows were killed in a bus accident at Kurmitola in Dhaka on July 29.
During their protests, the foremost demand of the students was capital punishment for reckless drivers causing deaths of people in road accidents.
On August 6 the cabinet approved the draft bill with a provision of maximum five-year jail and fines for rash and negligent driving causing deaths or serious injuries.
Detailing the bill, law minister Anisul Huq on August 6 said in a separate briefing that when MVO was enacted in 1983, deaths or serious injuries for rash and negligent driving had punishment of maximum seven-year jail which was reduced to three years in 1985.
‘Today, in the bill, for rash or negligent driving the punishment has been increased to five years’ jail and fine as per the gravity of the crime,’ he said on that day.
The decision drew criticism of road safety campaigners.
On Wednesday, at the DTCA board meeting, Obaidul Quader also directed officials concerned to suspend road digging works on Bus Rapid Transit Line - 3 project on Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport-Gazipur route till December this year for easing public sufferings.
He said ahead of election party activists and journalists would go to different areas while Gazipur was the gateway of northern districts.
As the project work was not scheduled to be completed by this December, the road digging work would be suspended, which would resume in January next year, he said.
The other works of the project would continue, he said.
Obaidul also asked DTCA to merge its initiative of a pilot project to introduce company-based bus service on airport-Saidabad and Kuril-Biswa road routes with the proposed bus route rationalisation project initiated by the late mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation Annisul Huq.
He urged parents to provide helmets for their children when they would ride motorcycles.
He also informed the meeting that Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha had been allocated DTCA seven acre land at Purbachal satellite city project to construct a bus depot.
The meeting was attended, among others, by lawmakers from Dhaka, Munshiganj, Savar, Manikganj and Narsingdi, secretaries of road transport and highways division, railways and housing and public works ministries, senior officials from Rajuk, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation, Bangladesh Railway, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, Bangladesh Police and transport leaders.