Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader on Monday urged the authorities concerned to remain alert so that goods-laden transport could not carry passengers during lockdown.
He came up with the call while speaking at a view-exchange meeting on the ongoing activities of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority through videoconferencing from his official residence in Dhaka.
Obaidul, also the Awami League general secretary, said that after announcement of a complete lockdown beginning from April 14 next, an over flowing crowd of homebound people were seen at launch and ferry ghats, while they were not following the health guidelines and social distancing.
‘Such attitudes of people can accelerate the coronavirus infection. That’s why I urge all concerned, including the administration, to play a responsible role in this end,’ he said.
Obaidul said that many transport owners and workers were not following the government’s instructions and health guidelines while running their vehicles amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
He stressed the need for strengthening monitoring so that health guidelines, including mandatory use of masks, could be ensured in public transport.
‘If necessary, the number of mobile courts should increase. The cooperation of deputy commissioners can be sought in conducting mobile courts at district level,’ Obaidul said.
About issuance of driving licences, the road transport minister said that driving licences had long been issued on a limited scale.
‘Although enrollment of licenses and issuance of biometrics has started, it does not gain momentum yet,’ he said, asking the secretary of the ministry concerned and the BRTA chairman to take steps to issue licence cards as soon as possible.
About the country’s politics, he said there is a lot of discussions and criticism about the country’s democratic politics and the role of the opposition. ‘It is largely true that our democracy is not institutionalised yet due to various setbacks and obstacles,’ he added. The AL general secretary said alongside the ruling party, a non-communal strong opposition was an urgent to institutionalise democracy in the country.
Mentioning that a responsible opposition party could play a vital role in strengthening democracy, Obaidul said in the absence of a strong opposition, communal politics finds a fertile ground for getting stronger and a section of the ruling party get chance to be authoritarian.