Ctg Transport Strike

RMG workers suffer most

Scores of commuters, especially garment workers, in Chittagong city suffered yesterday as a group of transport workers kept vehicles off the streets for the second consecutive day to press home their 11-point demand.

Chittagong Metropolitan Gono Paribahan Malik Sangram Parishad, a platform formed by seven out of the 10 associations of transport owners, called the indefinite strike on Wednesday.

The strike took a heavy toll on thousands of garments workers of Chittagong EPZ as most of the public vehicles which plies the route-10 belong to that seven associations, said Golam Rasul Babul, additional general secretary of Chittagong District Sarak Paribahan Malik Samity.

Bibi Pinki, a garment worker, was seen anxious for not getting any bus. She feared that she would be fined for being late.

Another worker Rubel Moula decided to walk to his workplace which is some six kilometres away.

However, yesterday was little better than the previous day as vehicles owned by other associations travelled along the other routes which especially helped school students whose examination are going on.

Babul, leader of one of the three associations against the strike, said the demonstrators came up with the strike in order to establish their supremacy.

On the other hand, both Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) officials denied getting any official letter from the demonstrating association regarding their demands.

But, Belayet Hossain Belal, president of Gono Paribahan Malik Sangram Parishad, claimed that they sent a letter on November 25 to traffic office with ultimatum for meeting their demands by November.

The demands include stopping vehicle requisition and filing of false cases by police,  and driving middlemen out of BRTA offices, flexibility in issuing driving licence, keeping three-wheelers off the streets and letting old vehicles ply the streets.

Deputy Director of BRTA Md Shohidullah said they cannot take decision alone regarding driving license and rules for the vehicles' longevity.

“These matters have to be discussed in meetings with representatives from Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC), traffic police, transport owners' associations and BRTA,” said Shohidullah, adding that it is not the proper way to press home demands by observing strikes without informing anyone.

In response to Shohidullah's comment, Belayet told The Daily Star that they would hold a meeting with Chittagong City Corporation mayor today.


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