Not every day is the entire city's traffic managed by school going students—boys and girls alike. Yet, that is exactly what is happening on Dhaka's streets for the last few days.
They are enquiring whether the driver has the valid documents such as driving license or fitness certificate. They are asking drivers to obey traffic rules. These kids are doing what the police and the road transport authority (BRTA) have failed to do: discipline the city's streets.
Ironically, they intercepted several police vehicles that flouted rules or did not have valid licences. They even forced a police sergeant to fine their fellow colleagues in accordance with law. They blocked two ministers' cars for apparently violating traffic rules. In a nutshell, they have shown our authorities exactly what's wrong in this city.
Their protests could not be more justified. They took to the streets after two of their fellow mates were killed in an accident caused by two competing bus drivers. Their grief and sorrow were exacerbated by the irresponsible response of a minister who is known to be supportive of the transport owners' interests.
The students' intervention is a result of frustration and inaction by the authorities concerned to contain the dysfunctional and messy traffic system of Dhaka. We understand how valid their demands are. At the same time it cannot be denied that their protests brought the entire city to a standstill for hours on end and caused immense public inconvenience, something we can ill afford. Unfortunately this seems to be the only way to get the attention of the authorities. It is high time the authorities listened to them, learned from them and took serious steps to address the issues raised by them.