City brought to its knees
March 30 was a terrible day to be on the road. Commuters were stuck for hours on end as major roads were blocked due to three reasons that resulted in endless gridlock all over Dhaka, namely, a rally demanding justice for Tonu, blocking of roads as there was an unveiling of a flyover and finally, the blocking off of Shahbagh where hundreds of nurses were holding protests.
The protest culture in our country shows complete disregard for public convenience. The fact is that until things get to the stage of public nuisance, authorities do not take cognizance of demands and they are moved to respond only when the city is sent into paralysis, thanks to such demonstrations. And commuters have to bear the brunt of it all. Even political parties have shown total disregard for the public. There have been huge processions where the police have allowed some groups to takeover roads whilst denying others.
There ought to be clear guidelines from the government and traffic authorities that under no circumstances can thoroughfares be blocked or closed to hold rallies and demonstrations. There should be designated areas where people can congregate without disrupting the flow of traffic. In the case of processions, authorities should ensure that only a portion of the road is used and not the whole. We respect the right of people to voice their demands but if protesters want to gain public sympathy, they must respect public interest. We would like to urge the authorities to schedule their inauguration programmes on weekends so that they do not add to the already chaotic traffic conditions prevailing in the city.