Dhaka – Hundreds o thousands of passengers suffered on Wednesday after a section of transport workers blocked highways in different places to demand amendment to a new law that the government enacted to bring discipline on transport sector.
A combine of track and covered van owners and workers on Tuesday announced the nationwide strike asking the government to amend few sections of the Road Transport Act 2018, which came into effect more than a year after it was passed in parliament.
The law was passed in the wake of mass protest sparked across Bangladesh after the deaths of two college students in Dhaka.
Road fatalities in Bangladesh have risen in Bangladesh thanks to reckless driving, lax implementation of law and poor road infrastructure. More than 7,000 people die in road crashed alone in Bangladesh every year.
Bangladesh Truck Covered-van Goods Transport Owners Workers Unity Council at a press conference claimed on Wednesday, a day after the new transport law came into being, that they would not ply vehicles for indefinite period until their demands are met.
They asked the government to accept nine-point demand.
On Wednesday, the workers were seen blocking highways at different places forcing passengers on buses and private vehicles stranded on the roads for hours. A long tailback was seen on Dhaka-Chittagong highway after the protesters blocked the road in Narayanganj.
Protesters in Rangpur forced the bus drivers to keep their vehicles off the road.
Commuters in Dhaka and other places also suffered as the number of public transports were thin in the cities and towns. Long-haul buses in some districts were suspended.
Activities at the maritime and land ports have also been slowed as a result of the road-transport strike.
Head of Bangladesh Truck Covered-van Goods Transport Owners Workers Unity Council Rustam Ali Khan said they will likely to have a second round of meeting with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday evening as the first meeting on Tuesday failed to resolve the crisis.
He said the work abstention will continue until their demands are met.