Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday called for disciplined driving during the rush of holidaymakers ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr to prevent road accidents and traffic congestion.
He said condition of roads this year is relatively better than previous years’ but it will all be meaningless if drivers do not exercise discipline.
Quader also called upon the leaders of transport owners’ and workers’ organisations to convey the message to drivers who will transport home-goers to their destinations.
The minister made the call at a meeting of stakeholders, to ensure safe and smooth journey of holidaymakers during the Eid vacation, at the head office of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) in the capital’s Banani.
He said many commuters often face hassles and are charged extra at bus counters, and urged transport leaders to check scalping of tickets, hiking fares and hassling passengers.
The minister said many rundown buses ply the streets during Eid rush as many owners want to cash in on the huge demand for vehicles.
Terming rundown buses the “root cause of accidents”, he said a combined effort from all quarters is needed to stop operation of such unfit vehicles on the highways.
He reiterated that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the second Meghna and Gumti bridges on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway and four underpasses, two flyovers and two bridges on Dhaka-Tangail Highway tomorrow.
However, if flow of traffic cannot be maintained systematically on a section of Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway (from City Gate area in the capital to Gazipur Chowrasta), vehicles may face congestion due to ongoing work of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
He asked the authorities to pause development work of BRT a few days before Eid and deploy more manpower to keep the area congestion-free.
As usual, goods-laden trucks will be barred from the highways three days before Eid, he said.
However, emergency services will remain out of the purview of the ban.
Also, CNG refueling stations would remain open 24 hours across the country -- from a week before Eid to five days after the festival, he added.
BRTA Chairman Moshiar Rahman said three committees -- comprising officials of BRTA, police and transport leaders -- will remain vigilant at three key bus stations of Dhaka from May 30 to June 4 to avert any irregularities.
Led by three additional deputy commissioners (traffic) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), the teams will work at Gabtoli, Mohakhali and Sayedabad bus terminals, he said.
Members of the committee will remain alert in order to prevent plying of unfit buses, overcharging and overloading of buses to ensure safe journey for the home-goers.
A seven-member monitoring team, led by Additional Police Commissioner (traffic) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Mir Rezaul Alam will oversee the activities of the vigilance teams, he said.
Road safety campaigner Ilias Kanchan, transport leaders, police officials, ministry and BRTA officials also spoke at the programme.
With Eid-ul-Fitr set to be observed in the first week of June, residents of the city are already planning out visits to their village homes to spend the holiday with near and dear ones. Ticket sales are already in full swing for buses, trains and launches.