Former shipping minister and Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation executive president Shajahan Khan on Thursday threatened that both transport owners and workers would think of leaving the transport business if the High Court continued to issue orders for compensation in road accident cases.
‘If we have to sell our vehicles and properties to pay compensation and drivers get life term jail or death penalty then it is better to leave this business,’ he said at a joint meeting of transport owners and workers’ leaders.
He also said that question struck their minds about the punishment and exemplary punishment as provided for by the existing laws.
‘Under such circumstances we request the High Court to reconsider these cases,’ Shajahan Khan said.
Bangladesh Road Transport Owners and Workers Unity Council organised the meeting at Gulistan Natyamancha in the capital to discuss different problems in the sector.
The leaders mainly raised the recent incidents of court orders for compensating road accident victims.
Pointing at these orders, Shajahan Khan observed that the road transport sector was now passing through ‘danger signal 10’.
Former state minister and Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association executive president Moshiur Rahman Ranga said that currently they (transport sector) were passing through the most repressive time.
Shajahan Khan mentioned that in December 1989 Mozammel Hossain Montu died in an accident and the court in April 2016 gave the order for compensation of Tk 3.52 crore.
‘The court ordered the bus owner and the driver concerned for giving a compensation of Tk 4.61 crore for the fatal accident of internationally acclaimed film director Tareque Masud and four more people in August 2011.
‘The court also fixed Tk 1 crore compensation for Titumir College student Rajib Hossain who died in April 2018, Tk 50 lakh compensation for Russel Sarker who lost a leg in April 2018 in an accident involving Green Line Paribahan and Tk 10 lakh compensation for Bangladesh University of Professionals student Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury who died in March this year,’ he continued.
He observed that victims were going to the court as they were encouraged by these verdicts.
Shajahan Khan blamed the police for filing charge sheets against the drivers and other workers only, adding that no engineers or pedestrians were ever punished for their faults in accidents.
‘As the law is equal for all that is why we expect justice as per the country’s existing laws and that is our request to the Chief Justice,’ he added.
‘Our request to the Chief Justice and other justices is not to give poison glasses to the hands of transport owners and workers in the name of exemplary punishments but to issue directives to the authorities concerned to implement the recommendations for controlling accidents and improve the order on the roads,’ he continued.
The politician-cum-transport workers leader claimed that in the past three years around 3,600 drivers got punishment in different cases filed following road accidents.
‘Organisational actions will be taken against the people involved in extorting money on the roads and against any owner who allows drivers without licences to drive,’ he said further.
Moshiur Rahman Ranga urged the authorities to find out the real reasons behind road accidents and proposed to provide lights and CCTVs on all roads and highways under the Roads and Highways Department.
The transport owners’ leader Khandakar Enayet Ullah said that if one bus was involved in any accident then there was no justification for stopping operation of all buses under the company concerned.
The meeting was attended, among others, by around 3,000 transport owners and workers from across the country.
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