Vehicular movements on all routes in the district have remained suspended since Wednesday night as transport workers blocked Panchagarh-Thakurgaon-Dhaka highway, demanding immediate release of their eight fellow workers.
They also stopped the vehicles of a number of government officials, including DC and SP, plying the road at Thakurgaon intersection yesterday afternoon to press their demand.
Due to the sudden blockade, hundreds of vehicles, including ambulance, got stuck on the highway and regional roads, causing immense sufferings to the passengers and patients.
At 11:30pm on Wednesday, police arrested eight transport workers on charges of collecting illegal tolls from goods-laden vehicles at Thakurgaon Bus Terminal and gambling there.
The arrestees are Abdul Hakim, Abdus Samad and Atiqul Islam, members of Thakurgaon Truck and Tank Lorry Workers' Union and Sohel Rana, Gaziul Islam, Habib, Jafar Hossain and Masum, members of Dinajpur Transport Workers' Union.
They have been committing the crimes in the area for long, said police.
Of the arrestees, Hakim, Samad and Atiqul were held on extortion charge, said officer-in-charge of Thakurgaon police station AKM Mehedi Hasan.
Refuting the allegations, Abdul Jabbar, general secretary of Thakurgaon Transport Workers' Union, said police arrested the eight when they were gossiping at the terminal.
Jabbar, however, admitted that illegal toll was collected from different vehicles for Thakurgaon District Truck and Tank-lorry Samity in regular basis over years.
President of Thakurgaon District Truck and Tank-lorry Samity Sujan Ali said the blockade will continue until release of the transport workers.
The district administration held a meeting with the transport leaders last night to resolve the issue. At the meeting, the transport leaders said they would withdraw the road blockade if their demand is met, the OC told the correspondent.
Police sources said they will release the eight arrested transport workers after taking undertakings from them.