Road accident prevention body fails to finish task

Final meeting today

Anaet Shawon

21 March, 2019 12:00 AM printer

The high-powered committee formed in February to guide the efforts for ensuring road safety has failed to complete its task within the stipulated time.

The 15-member body headed by former minister Shajahan Khan was supposed to submit its recommendations by March 10 for preventing road accidents and bringing discipline on the roads.

The road transport and bridges division formed the committee on February 17 giving the March 10 deadline for submission of recommendations.

Having failed to complete the task, the body sought 10-day extension of the deadline, which ends today (Thursday).

The newly enacted Road Transport Act-2018 could not be made effective due to absence of rules.

Contacted, president of Road Transport Owners Association and former state minister of LGRD Mashiur Rahman Ranga, also a member of the committee, told the daily sun that they are at the final stage of finalising their recommendations based on five meetings.

“We will submit the report to the Road Transport and Bridges Minister soon after Thursday’s meeting,” Ranga said, adding that report is being delayed due to minister Obaidul Quader’s sickness.

Ranga also hinted about some recommendations, including increasing facilities for transport workers and drivers, installing facilities for drivers to take rest on highways, setting a minimum educational qualification for drivers, keeping illegal vehicles off the roads, and building subways besides highways and taking special plans for Dhaka’s public transportation system.

“Playing of battery-run vehicles should be stopped,” he said.

The demand for road safety is getting louder after reckless driving caused the tragic death of Abrar Ahmed, a university student, in the city on Tuesday.

A student of Bangladesh University of Professionals, Abrar was killed on the spot after a bus ran him over at Nodda near Bashundhara Residential area, which sparked protests among the students and locals.

Amid the road safety movement last year waged by students after two school students were killed by a bus, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a set of directives for ensuring safe road safety. But the directives remain unheeded and neglected by the authorities concerned.

Syed Abul Maksud, a road safety campaigner, said that the things would have improved if the directives of PMO had been implemented.

“But authorities concerned turned a deaf ear to the directives,” he said adding, “When PM’s directives neglected, that indicates that the administration is not doing their job and there is no sense of accountably.”

“Committees were formed and many and recommendations were made, but things never changed,” he said.

Road-safety campaigner Ilias Kanchan said though that Prime Minister has given directives for ensuring safety on the roads but all these were unheeded but the recommendations are being made taking the directives into cognizance.

“This time, special training for drivers is being emphasised,” Kanchan said, lauding shipping minister Shajahan Khan’s role for brining up this important issue.

To bring discipline and ensure road safety, the Road Transport Act-2018 was passed in Jatiya Sangsad on September 20 last year, while National Road Safety Council (NRSC) held meetings to formulate recommendation for preventing road accidents and bringing discipline in the roads.

At least 6,552 people were killed in accidents at different parts of the country in last 751 days, according to a media report.