Dhaka – The administration seems hapless as it failed to stop unabated extortion on the road transports ahead of the Muslims religious festival of Eid-al-Fitr across Bangladesh.
It was an open secret until recently. But a senior minister was brave enough to admit the fact that the extortionists, believed to be supported by influential class of the society, control the sector as they want.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the extortion is syndicated. Politicians, men from administration, law enforcement are doing it hand in hand.
“Several groups are involved in the highway extortion syndicate. There is also involvement of political leaders, administration and law enforcers,” said Quader.
The minister made the remarks while inspecting the mobile court activities on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Paduar Bazar area of eastern Comilla district.
Quader, one of the most active ministers in Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League-led coalition cabinet, warned of stern actions against those involved in the extortion.
But it is not clear whether the government would launch any drive against the extortionists very soon as the ‘syndicates’ comprising members of the law enforcement are strong enough to dodge the government.
Tens of thousands of people, traveling during the Muslims fasting month of Ramadan to boost their businesses ahead of the religious festival, are fell prey to the extortionists as the transport owner cover the extra charge from the passengers pocket.
Similar condition arises when people travel between their ancestral homes and their workplace in big cities during the Eid celebration period.