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Truckers plan strike citing ‘discrimination’

Goods transport operators are planning on going on a strike citing as “a discrimination against them” the government clampdown on unfit vehicles and unlicensed drivers which was held for the third consecutive day yesterday.

Meanwhile, hundreds were found waiting at the capital’s bus stops all day with most privately-owned public transports staying off the streets with Bangladesh Road Transport Authority’s (BRTA) mobile courts at the capital’s Banglamotor and Kalabagan and Joydevpur intersection and that of Dhaka District Administration at Jatrabari, New Market and Ramna.

It is not possible to carry shipping containers and stick to keeping the length of covered vans to the stipulated 20 feet as per Motor Vehicle Ordinance-1983, Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van Owners’ Association President Tofazzal Hossain Majumder told The Daily Star.

This is why, almost all the covered van owners have increased the vehicle length by three feet and this practice has been going on for around 25 to 30 years, he added.

“We were continuing discussion with the BRTA and minister to find out a way for resolving the problem. By this time, the government has started the drive and filing cases against us,” he added.

Fearing cases and harassment, several hundred trucks suspended operations and are lying idle in terminals, he said.

“We will hold a meeting (today) among our association members. Then, we will take further decision. We may enforce the strike if the situation continues,” he added.

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BRTA Chairman Nazrul Islam claimed the covered van owners illegally increase the length to carry more goods than its actual capacity and that they had been given time to shorten the length but they did not comply.

“Now, they are pressurising to legitimate it. We will not go beyond the law,” he added.

Yesterday magistrates filed cases against 75 and impounded four vehicles and imposed fines worth around Tk 76,000.

“I am facing severe transport crisis to travel from office to home in the last three days. Every day, I have to wait more than one hour before I can board a bus,” said Kamrunnahar at Karwan Bazar yesterday afternoon.

Currently, more than 3.13 lakh of the over 21 lakh vehicles registered with BRTA have no fitness. Of them, over 93,000 are in Dhaka, according to BRTA sources.

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