Taskforce on Road Crashes: Most decisions unimplemented
With most of its previous decisions unimplemented, a taskforce, led by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, is going to sit for its third meeting today.
Formed in October 2019, the taskforce was made to oversee the implementation of 111 recommendations given by a high-powered committee to reduce road accidents and bring discipline in the road transport sector.
In its second meeting on December 23, the taskforce decided that drivers, conductors and helpers of public transports have to be given appointment letters.
Transport association owners and workers were asked to ensure the matter jointly but no such move was taken.
Shajahan Khan, president of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers' Federation, said the Road Transport Act-2018 stipulates the appointment for drivers.
He opined for incorporating provisions in the act for imposing fines in this regard, read the meeting minutes.
Mashiur Rahman Ranga and Khondaker Enayet Ullah, president and secretary general of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, gave contradictory statements over the issue in the meeting.
Ranga said owners and workers outside the capital have decided to give appointment to drivers, but it is confusing as to why this has not been taking place in Dhaka.
On the hand, Enayet Ullah said field-level people are not as active as the people in the capital.
Effective measures have to be taken at division and district levels.
Contacted, Osman Ali, general secretary of the federation, said, "There has been no progress in this regard. We have sent letters to the owners' associations days after the meeting. But they [owners] are not implementing the decision although they said they would. We take many decisions in the meeting but see little progress."
Contacted, Enayet Ullah blamed the Covid-19 pandemic. "We could not make progress in this regard due to the Covid situation."
The taskforce had also decided that footpaths in the city would be freed from illegal occupation and effective measures would be taken to stop battery-run rickshaws in the city.
Both North and South city corporations and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police were given the tasks to ensure these matters.
This correspondent visited different areas of the city, including Farmgate, Panthapath, Paribagh, Agargaon, Dhanmondi, Tejgaon, Bailey Road, and found most of the footpaths occupied illegally.
Battery-run rickshaws were seen operating different parts of the capital including in Nakhalpara, Tejkunipara, Mirpur and Kathalbagan.
The taskforce also directed both city corporations to do road markings and installing necessary lighting facilities on the flyovers.
The decision was taken after DMP Commissioner Shafiqul Islam said at the meeting that each fly over in the city has turned into nightmares due to the lack of necessary lighting.
The taskforce also asked the transport association to introduce bus services for short distances on highways, so that passengers do not suffer after the illegal smaller vehicles like Nasimon, Karimon were driven off of the streets.
The meeting also decided to carry out surveys to determine the capacity of city roads and number of vehicles.
Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Buet and Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) already held meeting in this regard. The ARI is now preparing a technical and financial proposal for the survey.
Yousub Ali Mollah, additional secretary (estate) of the Road Transport and Highway Division, is the member secretary of the taskforce.
Contacted yesterday, he said today's meeting will discuss the overall progress of the implementation of the decisions taken in the last meeting.
This correspondent could not reach the home minister over phone for comments.
In March 2019, a committee, led by transport sector leader Shajahan Khan, made 111 recommendations in order to reduce the number of road accidents and bringing discipline in the sector.
Later, the government formed a taskforce headed by the home minister to implement the recommendations.