Third Meeting of Taskforce on Road Crashes: Old decisions taken afresh
A taskforce aiming to curb road crashes and bring discipline in road transport sector, led by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, sat for its third meeting yesterday after a six-month hiatus.
Apart from the minister, two lawmakers, several secretaries, inspector general of police, experts and top transport leaders took part the three-hour closed-door meeting.
And finally, they came up with almost similar decisions, which they had taken in the previous meetings, and or in different platforms, and remained unimplemented for a long time.
For example, the home minister after the meeting said they have decided to stop battery-run rickshaw across the country and the ministry concerned will issue necessary directives in this regard soon.
However, the same decision was taken around a decade ago.
The government in May 2011, following an inter-ministerial meeting, banned import and assembly of such vehicles and decided to send off-road those already plying the roads.
Besides, the High Court on July 3, 2014, banned plying of battery-run rickshaws across the country for not running with valid licences as per the law.
Moreover, the taskforce, in its second meeting on December 23, also asked the north and south city corporations and Dhaka Metropolitan Police to take effective measures to stop battery-run rickshaws in the city.
In the second meeting, the taskforce decided that drivers, conductors and helpers of public transports have to be given appointment letters.
After yesterday's meeting, the home minister said they have taken the decision that transport workers have to be given recruitment letter and transport leaders would implement the decision soon.
The minister said they have decided to take stern action so that no motorbiker would be allowed to carry more than one pillion.
However, the road transport and bridges ministry on June 6, 2016, following several recent murders committed by bike-riding criminals, issued a circular saying that the government would ensure that no more than two people ride a motorbike.
The minister also said no one would be allowed to collect fixed money or toll from vehicles or transport workers, except at a terminal or a dedicated place.
Four top transport associations including the Bangladesh Road Transport Workers' Federation and Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association took the same decision last year, when operation of public transport was resumed in June after more than two-month shutdown.
In the second meeting, the taskforce had also decided to carry out surveys to determine the capacity of Dhaka city roads and number of vehicles.
The home minister also mentioned the same issue while talking about their decision.
Asked why they could not implement the previous decisions and took the same decisions again, the minister did not give any direct answer.
Replying to the question, the minister talked about the complexity over giving recruitment letter to the transport workers and said if the transport leaders start the process, the authorities concerned including Bangladesh Road Transport Authority would take necessary actions.
Asked about their observation over the road accident situation in the country, the minister said, "I don't think that the road crashes have increased that much."
Besides, the taskforce decided to appoint four focal persons from four ministries concerned to make its activities vibrant.
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.