A sharp rise in prices of essentials over the past few months has made life difficult for people of almost every section of society across the country. The latest burden of steep hike in fuel rates has multiplied their woes. Because of the phenomenon, goods transportation costs from one corner of the country to others have increased abnormally and in an indiscriminate manner. In this situation, yesterday’s lead story of an influential vernacular daily has baffled the newspaper readers most. It is that there is none to fix the fare of goods-carrying vehicles. We know that the government has deputed certain organisations to do the job of fixing fare of public transport like buses and trains as well as ferries and launches. It is usually the BRTA which is responsible for fixing these fares. Likewise, it falls upon the railway authorities for fixing train fare, while it is the BIWTA that fixes ferry and launch fares.
But, because of lack of a clear goods transportation policy, truck owners charge exorbitant fare for carrying goods as per their whims. A complete anarchy prevails in this particular area. According to the secretary-general of the Bangladesh Covered Van-Truck-Prime Mover Goods Transport Owners’ Association, there is no fixed fare based on the routes of transporting goods. Fares are usually fixed following bargaining which depend upon routes. At different truck stands, there exist middlemen who intervene, thereby increasing the goods transportation cost by at least Tk. 500 for a single truck. Traders now need to pay the additional cost and ultimately the general consumers have to bear the brunt of it.