Govt mulling taskforce to curb road accidents | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 23, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:33 AM, August 23, 2019

Govt mulling taskforce to curb road accidents

Says Obaidul Quader

The government is considering forming a taskforce to curb road accidents and bring discipline to the transport sector, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said yesterday.

The minister said the taskforce will oversee the implementation of the recommendations given by a committee led by former Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan. The committee had recommended for setting up one or more taskforces to oversee the implementation.

The minister however said they will take final decision in this regard at the next meeting of National Road Safety Council (NRSC) to be held on September 5. 

“We have got a proposal to form a strong taskforce. We will approve it at the meeting of the road safety council,” he said.

Quader, also the general secretary of the ruling Awami League, was talking to reporters after a meeting with the Shahjahan Khan-led committee over their proposals at his secretariat office.

Shahjahan Khan, also the executive president of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation, handed over the report of their committee to Quader.

At the last meeting of National Road Safety Council on February 17, the committee was formed to give recommendations for curbing road accidents and bringing discipline to the transport sector. The committee on April 28 submitted its report, with 111 recommendations, to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as Quader was undergoing treatment abroad.

Yesterday, Quader said the meeting should have been held much earlier, and implementation of the recommendation should have started sooner, but they could not be done due to his illness.

“We will now work with rejuvenated spirit,” he said, adding that they will approve the recommendations at the meeting of National Road Safety Council meeting, after holding discussions and bringing necessary changes.

He said several reports were submitted on the issue in the past, but recommendations of the reports were not implemented.

“There is no use of giving recommendations if those are not implemented properly. Now we want to give priority on action over rhetoric,” he said.

The parliament in September last year passed the Road Transport Act-2018, aiming to bring discipline on roads and thus curbing road accidents. But the government has not made the law effective yet.

Asked about the issue, the minister said the home minister and law minister is working on the issue and formulation of rules and sub-rules of the act is going on. The process will get momentum after the home minister returns from abroad.

Asked whether the government is facing any pressure from transport owners and workers in implementing the law, he said, “How can I tell before initiating the implementation process? However, there are some challenges which we will overcome.”

After the passage of the act, Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation observed a two-day strike on October 28-29 last year, demanding changes to the law, including making all non-bailable sections of the law bailable.

Asked whether the government will accept their demands, Quader said the home minister and law minister will see whether any adjustment is possible, keeping legal matters intact.

Replying to a question whether the government will bring any changes to the law, the minister said, “We will see whether any adjustment and accommodation can be made keeping the law intact.”

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