Road safety campaigners on Saturday urged the government to ensure immediate enforcement of the Road transport Act 2018 to bring order and reduce the number of fatal accidents on roads.
At a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka, leaders of Nirapad Sarak Chai urged the government not to bow down to any pressure and to take action against people impeding the enforcement of the 2018 act.
On the same day at a discussion at the same venue, Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh made a similar call to the government to ensure immediate enforcement of the act by making complementary rules.
The new transport act came into effect on November 1 more than 13 months after it was passed in the Jatiya Sangsad in September 2018 but the road transport and bridges minister twice deferred its enforcement to give people time to adjust.
Finally, the government began implementing the act on November 17 amid work abstention of transport workers in different districts in protest against the high penalties under the act.
The workers called off their strikes after they were given seven months to update the driving licences and fitness papers of the vehicles and also on assurance that their demands would be considered.
Nirapad Sarak Chai organised the press conference to mark its 27th founding anniversary and to protest against anomalies in the new act.
The organisation’s chairman Ilias Kanchan alleged that a vested quarter of the transport sector was trying to hinder the enforcement of the act by pressing illogical demands and enforcing strikes.
Ilisas alleged that the quarter always exploited the transport workers by instigating unreasonable strikes and holding people hostage to maintain sway over the sector while staying out the purview of all laws.
He called on the government not to bow down to any pressure.
‘Legal action should be taken against people impeding enforcement of this law by keeping people hostage,’ Ilias demanded.
Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh organised a discussion at the same venue on challenges of the enforcement of the new law.
While reading out the keynote paper, the association secretary general Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury alleged that only strict enforcement of the new act would bring order on roads.
He demanded formation of rules in shortest possible time to address challenges like unskilled drivers and drivers without licences, unfit and unregistered vehicles, absence of footpaths, parking spaces and service roads, extortion on roads, capacity of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, high penalties and corruptions in the law enforcement agencies.
Communist Party of Bangladesh central leader Ruhin Hossain Prince observed that the workers should be made aware about their rights to guard themselves from the exploitation by others.
Dhaka Transport Coordination Board’s former executive director SM Salehuddin stressed on multimodal transport system by interlocking roads, railways and waterways to reduce dependency on roads.
The discussion was attended, among others, by senior journalist Abu Sayeed Khan, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry director Abdul Haque, Nagarik Sanghati general secretary Sharifuzzaman harif, Drivers Training Centre chairman Noor Nabi Shimu and Inter District Goods Carrying Truck and Covered Van Owners Association general secretary Chowdhury Zafar Ahmmed.
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