Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said the draft Road Transport Bill which was recently approved by the Cabinet can still be amended.
“The Road Transport Bill was approved in principle only by the Cabinet. So, there’s nothing to worry about it,” he told a meeting at his ministry with intellectuals and experts on prevention of road accidents.
The bill will now be placed before Parliament and then to the parliamentary standing committee concerned for scrutiny, Quader said. “I’ll recommend inviting intellectuals and experts at the meeting of the standing committee for a better outcome.”
He said the bill will be passed in the upcoming parliament session which will be its last session.
The minister also said parliament will not be dissolved before the national election.
Mentioning that the bill was sent to the Cabinet one year ago and it had been waiting for its approval since then, he said, “I salute the protesting students because it finally came to the fore due to their protest.”
Quader, also General Secretary of the ruling Awami League, said they were trying to restrict the plying of three-wheelers and human-haulers on highways. “But the local representatives are backing their plying. The ban on the plying of human-haulers can be implemented if local representatives extend their cooperation,” he said, adding that everything will come under discipline if politics is brought under regulation.
Ilias Kanchan, renowned actor and founder of road safety organisation ‘Nirapad Sarak Chai’ said the provision of highest 5 years’ jail in the draft bill for any death or serious injuries caused by reckless driving is not enough.
He demanded that the punishment be raised to at least 10 years’ jail.
The safe road campaigner also demanded a provision of murder case under section 302 if people die in road accidents involving a vehicle having no fitness and licence, or with fake licence.
He also suggested that educational qualification of both drivers and helpers should be above Class-VIII and considering road crash victim’s age, income and condition while providing compensation.
On August 6 last, the Cabinet approved the draft Road Transport Bill with a provision of highest 5 years’ jail or fine or both for any death or serious injuries caused by reckless driving.
Under the proposed law, if death through road crash is proved as intentional murder then the offenders will be punished as per the Penal Code.
Architect Mubasshar Hussain, columnist Syed Abul Maksud, director of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) Dr Mizanur Rahman and representatives of transport owners and workers were present at the meeting with Obaidul Quader in the chair.