I am pained and so are most of the people of Bangladesh to get the news that yet another young life was lost to greedy bus operators. He is Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury of the army-run Bangladesh University of Professionals and the son of a retired army officer. Losing a family member is itself painful, but for the parents to lose a son with a promising future is a lifelong suffering that cannot be explained in words.
Is Bangladesh in a state of war that regularly lives of innocent are lost on the roads? Why after many lives lost, from a very famous person to the unsung man on the street, the “murder” on the roads continues without showing any sign of ending.It is unacceptable. I demand immediate action to end these murders once and for all.
The most interesting part of these road deaths falls within Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s declared “zero-tolerance” to corruption.
Starting from false fitness certificates to fake driving licences are all a result of corruption. The devils on the roads pay different organisations to get these fake papers. Their greed is unending as more money they make the more corrupt ways they find to get richer.
These corrupt men introduce defective vehicles with untrained drivers, many of whom are drug addicts.
Then comes the case of policemen on the streets. The habit of taking “toll” or “bribe” is an old story which continues unabated despite the fact that they have been gifted with increased wages and many other fringe benefits by the government.
If the policemen tasked to ensure rule of law on the roads did their job properly, such murders could have been curtailed. I have witnessed how truck and bus assistants stretch out their hands clutching bribe money as they pass through police posts without even stopping the vehicles. This means they know where and how much to pay to policemen posted in different places.Policemen must be taken into account and tough punishment handed to the corrupt ones. It is one area where zero tolerance on corruption must be made visible.
The Anti-Corruption Commission must launch probe in the police force without delay to identify the corrupt which will help not only in containing road crashes, but the overall crime situation of the country.
Isn’t it a shame to hear the words “we want justice” again and again from the future generation, when we are constitutionally pledge bound to ensure justice to all Bangladeshis? Isn’t it a shame to see our future generation on the streets begging an end to deaths on the roads?
As I write this piece reports of more road accidents came in and in one of them the victim was a student. The loss of a loved one and that too young people is a pain which leaves a permanent scar.
One serious problem will be that our future generation will grow-up with a mind-set that injustice and not justice is a way of life. Thus the future is bleak. Do we want this future or one that promises to produce law abiding talented generation who will make Bangladesh proud?
I asked some of the young friends studying in the university about graft and justice. The answers are almost the same and I am embarrassed as person much senior to them. “It is no point to good citizens as our seniors have polluted the society by indulging in corruption. Many cases of injustice are regularly reported in the media. So even after nearly 50 years of independence nothing has changed. The rich and powerful continue to pollute the system. We just have to follow or otherwise we will not be able survive.”
The concerned authorities —- the home ministry, police and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), the champion in corruption by issuing fake fitness certificates or driving licences —— must be told without further delay that they should correct themselves or face tough actions. That should not be just an empty warning but executed urgently.
The trade unions threat if actions are taken and the government gives in. Not, any more. It is time to act from this moment and now. All owners of unfit vehicles be given seven days’ notice to get their vehicles off the streets or destroy them after seizure. In the case of untrained and drug addicted drivers the same warning must be given. Any kind of movement by the owners and drivers should be squashed with a tough hand if they failed to heed to warnings.
Let us join in sharing the grief of Abrar’s family as well as with the near ones of those others whose lives were cut short by deaths on the roads. We should pledge such road accidents will not take place anymore.