Transport owners ask govt to stop extortion


No murder case against drivers for accidents before investigation: MKA

Transport owners and workers on Wednesday asked the home ministry at a meeting to stop widespread extortions and harassment by the police and others on roads and highways.
They alleged that the transport business was at peril due to harassment and widespread extortions faced by drivers and transport workers from the police and unauthorized labour organizations on the roads and highways.
Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation demanded withdrawal of murder cases filed against drivers under Section 302 of the Penal Code for road accidents.
In an eight-point demand it also pressed for immediate steps to stop extortions at Daulatdia, Paturia, Mawa and Kawrakandi ferry ghats.
The federation said that unauthorized tolls were collected on the pretext of arranging serials of vehicles waiting in queues.
Home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir who chaired the meeting assured the federation leaders that steps would be taken to remove the irregularities and stop the extortion on highways and at ferry ghats.
He admitted that a section of local political leaders and some in name only labour organizations were involved in the extortions troubling the transport sector.
‘We will take all measures to bring back discipline in the transport sector. Action will be taken against the police on specific allegations after investigation,’ Muhiuddin told reporters.
He said police would not institute murder cases against drivers under Section 302 of the Penal Code for ‘accidental deaths’ before holding primary investigation.
‘A driver does not intentionally kill any body. Accidental deaths cannot be termed intentional. So the drivers should not be sued directly under Section 392,’ said the home minister.
A 72-hour token strike, beginning September 23, called by Bangladesh Sarak Poribahan Shramik Federation, an apex trade union representing transport workers, prompted the government to sit in the meeting.
Following assurance that the government would address the 8-point demand of the aggrieved workers, the federation decided to put off the strike,’ the federation general secretary Osman Ali told reporters.
The three-hour meeting was also attended by shipping minister Shajahan Khan, who is also the executive president of the federation, communications minister Obaidul Quader and state minister for home Shamsul Haque and Bangladesh Sarak Poribahan Samity general secretary Khandokar Enayet Ullah.
The transport union leaders also demanded allowing trucks and heavy duty covered vans in Dhaka and Chittagong cities round the clock on weekends.
Now trucks and heavy duty covered vans are allowed in the two cities from 9:00pm to 8:00am.
The minister said that the police would assess the situation before giving their recommendations.
He said that the federation leaders also demanded to withdraw five separate cases filed against drivers under Section 302 of the Penal Code against drivers following accidents including at Feni and Comilla.
‘We have decided to the review the cases and ask the district magistrates to take steps in this regard,’ he added.
Muhiuddin said that the shipping and the labour ministries were asked to take steps against extortion at ferry ghats by the so-called labour organizations.

Source: New Age

Image: Discovering Dhaka