Eid Journey

No steps yet to bring road discipline

Md Esaraf Hossain

22 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

With a view to keeping journey of the holidaymakers smooth ahead of Eid ul-Fitr this year, the authorities concerned are hardly trying to bring discipline to roads, highways and waterways across the country.    

Ordeal of the home-bound people usually mount high during the Eid journey as their vehicles get stuck for hours in long tailbacks on highways and ferry ghats.

The long tailback is created due to heavy rush of vehicles during Eid journey of homegoers, highway police said.

Tens of thousands of people leave the capital for their ancestral homes to celebrate the Eid festival with their near and dear ones.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader vowed to bring back discipline to the country’s road and transport sectors terming it a major challenge.

Obaidul Quader, also the minister for road transport and bridges, made the pledge after returning to his office Sunday following sick leave for around two and a half months.

The construction of four underpasses will be finished before the upcoming Eid. Meghna and Gumti bridges will be opened on May 25, he told reporters.

The minister further said the lack of public transport will be covered as more BRTC buses and trucks are being brought.

On the other hand, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said no unprofessional drivers would be allowed to run their vehicles on roads and highways during the Eid vacation this year.

Highway police will be monitoring the movement of traffic during Eid festival. The home minister disclosed this at a law and order meeting at its office on Sunday.

The highway police will check the vehicles’ fitness and its drivers’ licenses if they guess that they are suspicious, the minister added.

At the same time, the overall security measures will also be tightened in the capital and elsewhere in the country just before and after the Eid ul-Fitr festival.

As part of the move, law enforcers will conduct block-raid at different cities including Dhaka and Chattogram, he added.

The minister also warned that stern action would be taken if any launch carries excessive passengers during the Eid journey.

Last week, Md Nazrul Islam, secretary of Road Transport and Highway Division, also vowed that the journey of holidaymakers ahead of Eid ul-Fitr this year will be smooth compared to previous years.

This year the road condition on the highways across the country is much better than previous years, and hence the holidaymakers are likely to have a smooth journey home ahead of the Eid, the secretary said.

He told this to journalists after emerging from a meeting of the division on ensuring safe and hassle-free journey for the homebound people ahead of Eid.

Plying of trucks and lorries will be halted on the highways across the country three days ahead of Eid, the secretary said, adding that vehicles carrying daily essentials and emergency medicine will be out of the purview of the instruction.

Also, steps have been taken to ensure that CNG refuelling stations across the country will remain open round-the-clock seven days before and five days after the Eid, he said.

Besides, vigilance teams will remain active round-the-clock to make sure that no passenger is charged extra fare on buses during the Eid journey, Secretary Nazrul Islam also said.

Top officials of Road Transport and Highway Division, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), and transport owners’ association were present at the meeting. 

Discipline is yet to be returned to roads and highways across the country causing frequent accidents and huge loses of lives.

Almost every day, reckless driving cost more or less lives on different road accidents anywhere in the country including capital Dhaka.

In the wake of scores of deaths on roads, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier issued some directives, including driving-time limitations on drivers of long-haul vehicles, to prevent accidents and casualties.

The “procession of deaths” on roads would stop if the PM’s directives could be implemented immediately, said Mozammel Huq, general secretary of Bangladesh Jatri Kallyan Samity. 

Mozammel said plying of unfit vehicles, lack of rest for drivers, unskilled drivers and helpers, plying of slow-moving vehicles on highways, reckless driving, poor monitoring and bad road conditions were to be blamed for the accidents.

The PM’s directive is yet to be implemented though over one year has already elapsed, he added. 

“Road accidents are taking place frequently because of reckless driving, overtaking tendency, lack of using foot over bridges by pedestrians and lack of traffic responsibility of passengers,” Murad Ali, deputy commissioner (South), said.

He also held both bus drivers and victims responsible for road accidents.

“We are taking various punitive measures against many errant drivers of the bus, truck and other vehicles who are responsible for frequent road accidents” he added. 

 Besides, the desperate plying of Mahendros, Easybikes, auto-rickshaws, Nochimons, Karimons are also responsible for road accidents, he added.

According to Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), a total of 7,937 bus and mini-buses ply along 246 routes in Dhaka and its adjacent areas.

According to BRTA, there are 35,000 buses and mini buses, half of which operate outside Dhaka. Some of them are out of order. Fitness of 18,000 buses and mini-buses are yet to be updated. There are 5,000 unfit buses in the capital.

According to transport owners, half of the drivers in Dhaka are young and drug-addict. Most of them have no legal licenses.