The cabinet today approved in principle the draft a draft law to regulate the planned “bus rapid transit”, a traffic system aimed to reduce the notorious traffic jam in the capital and its outskirts, BSS reports. .
“The proposed law will regulate the BRT system designed to reduce traffic jam in Dhaka and its adjacent areas through a dedicated bus route with the capacity to transport 40,000 passengers per hour on the Gazipur – Airport – Jhilmil route,” cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told newsmen emerging from a cabinet meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
BRT is a large automated public transportation system introducing dedicated lanes for buses. The cabinet secretary said the draft law proposed highest 10 years imprisonment or up to Taka 50 lakh of fine or both the punishment for violating the law. Detailing the proposed punitive actions the top bureaucrat said if anyone operates buses in the rapid transit line without licence, if anyone hands over the licence without prior approval and if anyone prints tickets without permission will face ten years of imprisonment or Taka 50 lakh as fine of or the both punishment.
Simultaneously, if any employee of the BRT is found involved in producing illegal tickets he or she would suffer two years of imprisonment or could be fined Taka 5 lakh. The proposed law, said, incorporated a provision of conducting mobile court to punish the offenders. The proposed law also has a suggested the formation of an “authority” to fix (bus) fares on the route.
The draft law also met some human issues like having provisions of realising mandatory compensation from the licence holders for the death or any kind of loss of a person travelling by vehicles permitted under the BRT. The top bureaucrat said the licence holder must pay compensation to the family members of the dead or the person injured according to the “extent” of losses.
Besides, the licence-holder or the appointed person or representative must send the persons to be injured due to BRT operative system to any nearby hospital and ensure their proper treatment. In this regard, Alam said the licence-holder will have to pay the treatment cost of the injured persons who will undergo treatment on thier own cost.
The cabinet secretary said the proposed law also has a provision under which the government will give necessary directives time to time to the BRT to fix bus fares while a seven-member committee would be formed to fix bus fares on the route under the BRT while the authority would publish information on the fares in daily newspapers as well as on their website.
About the “reservation” of seats, Alam said the authority would ensure seat reservation for the war-wounded freedom fighters, children and the disabled in every coach under BRT system.
He said the cabinet also gave final approval to the draft of “The Supreme Court Judges (Remuneration and Privileges) Amendment Act, 2016” incorporating the Eid and festival bonuses as well as the Nabobarsho allowance in the existing law.
He said the judges of the Supreme Court are now getting Eid and festival bonuses through a circular, while they would receive 20 percent of the total salary as an allowance in Pahela Boishakh from this year like other government employees.
He said the judges of the Supreme Court have requested the government to give the Eid and other festival bonuses and Nabobarsho allowance through the existing law instead of the circular. That’s why the law is going to be framed incorporating this provision, Alam said.
The cabinet secretary said the draft of “The Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of the Republic of India on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy” was approved at today’s cabinet meeting. In this connection, he said the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is going to be established at Iswardi in Pabna in cooperation with the Russian Federation government.
He said there is a need of “technical knowledges” to operate and sustain the (Rooppur) power plant, and Bangladesh is currently getting the “technical know how” from Russia in this regard. He said India is also using nuclear energy for peaceful purpose with the Russian cooperation and supervision, which is “encouraging”.
The Indian government wants to train up Bangladeshi experts on the (nuclear) technology. The deal is going to be signed so that Bangladeshi experts could receive training from India to this end, he said.
The cabinet also apprised of the report of Bangladesh Development Forum 2015 and the visit of a Bangladesh delegation led by the Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister to the Aviation Leadership Summit-2016 and Singapore Airshow-2016 held in Singapore on February 14-16
Besides, the participation of the Education Minister in The Education World Forum-2016 on Jan 18-29, the visit of a Bangladesh team headed by the Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister to Singapore on February 24-28 and the participation of the State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in the 6th session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly held at Abu Dhabi in the UAE on Jan 16-17 were apprised.
Ministers and state ministers concerned attended the meeting, while secretaries concerned were present.