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Bus strike paralyses country

Commuters hit hard as buses in northern districts stop operation

WT24 Desk

Commuters suffered much as bus workers went on strike in various districts including Jhenaidah, Khulna, Rajshahi, Narail, Kushtia and Satkhira from Monday morning protesting against implementation of the Road Transport Act, Agencies report.

The much talked-about Act came into effect from November 1. The Road Transport and Bridges Ministry had announced the decision through a notification on October 22.

In Khulna, intra-district bus services remained halted. Mohamamd Nurul Islam, president of Khulna Motor Workers Union, said they are opposing the new Act.

General Secretary of Khulna District Bus-Minibus Coach Owners Association Anwar Hossain Shona said the bus drivers did not consult them before enforcing the strike.

Many people were forced to use alternative transportation to reach their destinations. Razia Akter, a resident of Faridpur, said she was planning to go to her village home but had to cancel the idea because of the strike.

Mamun Sheikh, a private service holder, said: “I was scheduled to travel to Dhaka but the bus company returned my money and said no bus will leave for the capital today.”

In Satkhira, bus services were unavailable on all local routes. The leaders of Motor Workers Union demanded amendment to the Act.

From Jhenaidah, no bus left for Kushtia, Magura, Jashore and Chuadanga since morning.

In Rajshahi, buses on Rajshahi-Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi-Naogaon and Rajshahi-Natore routes remained suspended.

The district unit Motor Workers Union staged a sit-in in Shiroil, Naudapara Bus Terminal and Bhadra intersection and demonstrated demanding cancellation of the Act.

Jahangir Alam, president of the district unit Motor Workers Union, said they had nothing to do with the strike. 

In Narail, buses had not been seen on the streets since Sunday evening.

Sadek Khan, joint general secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation, said the protesters did not discuss anything with them.

In Kushtia, intra-district bus services remained suspended but most of the long haul buses operated as usual. 

“Most of the buses are unfit and most drivers lack liscense. So they’re reluctant to operate buses,” said Mahbubul Islam, president of Kushtia Motor Workers Union. 

Mariam Sultana, a resident of Kushtia, said she was planning to go to Jhenaidah by bus to attend the funeral of a relative. “Now, I have to go there by a human hauler.”

The ‘Road Transport Bill-2018′ was passed by parliament on September 19, 2018, keeping a provision of maximum five years’ jail for any death or serious injuries caused by reckless or negligent driving.

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