Noted road safety campaigner Ilias Kanchan yesterday proposed setting up token prisons on roads for briefly confining traffic law breakers, to bring discipline in the city traffic system.
As part of his proposal, the activist asked the authorities to issue a circular, giving three months' time so that all institutions and organisations can train their staff and make them aware about traffic rules beforehand.
Kanchan was speaking at a programme organised by traffic division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) at Shahbagh intersection. The programme was part of DMP's month-long traffic awareness campaign that started on September 5.
He also proposed strict handling of traffic offenders as well as holding the institutions they belong to responsible after the three-month period.
“I believe the people of Bangladesh can accomplish many things. We have liberated our country in nine months and we can prevent road accidents too if we have the willingness,” he said.
Kanchan pointed out that some policemen are still violating traffic rules when an attempt to bring about a change in the system is underway.
An outcry to bring discipline in the traffic system came amidst protests by students following the deaths of their peers in the city on July 29.
Dhaka University (DU) Vice-chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman, noted columnist Syed Abul Maksud, DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia, DU Proctor Prof AKM Golam Rabbani, DU Teachers' Association President Maksud Kamal, Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association Secretary General Khandaker Enayet Ullah, among others, spoke at the programme.
The speakers stressed a change the mindset of owners, drivers, pedestrians and other stakeholders to bring discipline in the traffic system.
While speaking at the programme, the DU VC said, “While we are holding the programme here, vehicles are running recklessly and pedestrians are walking on the road while the footbridge remains unused…We all need to change.”
He stressed the need for more infrastructural development, including constructing more footbridges and underpasses for the overpopulated city.
“I think it's impossible to improve the situation without doubling the existing infrastructure,” he said.
Syed Abul Maksud termed the existing indiscipline on the roads as “the most terrible disaster of the country”.
“Police cannot face it alone,” he said.
“From the dais in the last one hour, I noticed 11 individuals crossing the road while talking on the phone,” he said, and asked police to take stern actions against violators of traffic rules.
“We have to take an oath before leaving home every day that we will not violate traffic rules,” he requested the city dwellers.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman said, “Transport owners, workers, pedestrians and even some law enforcers do not obey traffic rules…The policemen breaking traffic rules will not be speared.”
Drawing attention of Enayet Ullah, representative of the transport owners, Asaduzzaman said that unholy race among vehicles, dropping passengers in the middle of the road, and contractual appointment of drivers have to stop.
He urged the city dwellers to follow traffic rules and generate awareness among their family members, colleagues and friends.
Enayet Ullah said four vigilance teams, consisting transport owners and workers, are working every day to prevent contractual appointment of drivers as well as unfit vehicles plying the city roads.
He assured police of full support from their organisation but also said mass awareness is a must to bring discipline in the traffic system.
Four national team cricketers were present at the programme.
One of them, Imrul Kayes, said that it is very regrettable that many are being killed on the road every day.
Members of volunteer organisations and students of different educational institutions were present at the programme.