Immense sufferings of Dhaka city passengers ended this evening after the protesting transport workers withdrew their suspension of bus operation in Dhaka.
Hundreds of passengers went through the sufferings as transport workers suspended bus operation for hours protesting the one-month jail sentence of a bus helper and the alleged harassment of another helper.
A mobile court of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) awarded one month imprisonment to a helper of Himachal Paribahan that plies on from Mirpur-12 to Mawa of Munshiganj for charging additional fare at around 10:30am at Agargoan today.
Around 20 minutes after the penalty, some bus workers attempted to put blockade at Agargoan on Begum Rokeya Sarani by keeping buses on roads haphazardly. At one stage, a police officer beat a bus driver to foil their attempt, said witnesses and BRTA officials
In protest of these incidents, transport workers suspended bus operation in most of the routes inside the city at around 11:00am that continued for around the next 6 hours.
Visiting different bus stoppages, many passengers were seen waiting for hours, while many others were walking for long distances due to transport crisis.
"I have been waiting here for around two hours. During this time only two buses came, but those were fully packed," said Kamruzzaman, a shop owner, who was waiting at Shewrapara this noon.
Stating similar experience, Sujan Mandal, a university student, said, "I waited for the bus for over one hour. Finding no transport, I have come to Mohammadpur to Jigatala walking."
Elderly people and patients faced double sufferings as they could not walk.
"I along with my ill father have been waiting for around one hour here. I could not find a bus or a auto rickshaw. My father is becoming sicker," said Shahidullah, who came to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment.
Agitated workers also vandalized window glasses of few buses when they tried to operate defying their decision to suspend operations.
In Pallabi and Phulbaria, transport workers staged a demonstration blocking the roads in protest of the incidents.
After around six hours, transport workers at around 5:00pm restarted bus operations following assurance authorities concerned not to 'harass' transport operators.
"We have talked to minister, BRTA chairman and other top level officials concerned. They have assured to not to harass or physically assault any transport workers further," said Ismail Hossain Bacchu, general secretary, Dhaka Zila Sarak Paribahan Sramik Union.
However, BRTA Director (enforcement) Bijoy Bhushan Paul said they would continue the drive against charging high fare, unfit vehicles and fake licence.
Meanwhile, sub-inspector of Kafrul police station Sohel Rana has been withdrawn for allegedly for beating a transport worker, said Syed Kaiumuzzaman Khan, deputy commission (Mirpur division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
The Road Transport and Bridges Ministry on October 1 increased bus fare in the capital by 10 paisa in per kilometres. Taking this chance, bus operators are charging additional fare than the official rate.
The BRTA has been conducting drive since last couple of days against those who were charging high fares.