People of Sylhet passed a day of grave suffering due to the division-wide transportation strike yesterday.
Sylhet divisional unit of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation (BRTWF) observed the strike for twelve hours, starting at 6am.
During the strike hours, no public transport left their terminals in all four districts of the division causing serious suffering for commuters.
While visiting Humayun Rashid Chattar, Kadamtali, Tilagarh and several other areas in Sylhet city, this correspondent found that transport workers were also blocking the way of private vehicles.
As Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination was scheduled for humanities and commerce examinees, they faced serious trouble as transport workers blocked the way of vehicles carrying examinees.
Antara Fariha, an examinee from Madan Mohon College in Sylhet, said, “My exam centre is at MC College in Tilagarh. Because of the transport strike, I started from home three hours before the exam and finding transport was a huge trouble.”
Meanwhile, people gathered at Sylhet Railway Station from early morning to board the outbound trains. All trains left the station overcrowded.
Selim Ahmed Folik, president of Sylhet divisional unit BRTWF, said, “The transport workers peacefully observed the strike and if the authority does not meet our demands, more strikes will be called after Eid-ul-Fitr.”
Transport workers called the strike with a seven-point demand including lifting murder charge of a bus driver and helper who allegedly pushed off a university student and ran him over at Dhaka-Sylhet highway’s Sherpur area in Moulvibazar on March 23.
The bus driver Jewel Ahmed and his helper Masuk Ali were detained in connection with the murder. Later, they confessed the crime before a court.
The transport workers, however, demanded that the case must be filed under section-304 instead of section-302 of the Penal Code.
According to the Penal Code, section-302 is for punishment of murder where section-304 is for culpable homicide or road accident.
The six other demands of the workers are: reducing fine from Tk 5 lakh to Tk 50,000 under section-105 of newly proposed Road Transport Act 2018; making sections 84, 98 and 105 of the act bailable; reducing fine from Tk 3 lakh to Tk 30,000 under sections 84 and 98; adjoining Penal Code section after investigation and including a worker representative into the investigation team for sensitive accidents; no vehicle requisition in other districts; only allowing police checks on some specific spots on the highway; and no toll collection at any bridges on the highways.