The government has decided not to penalise commercial vehicles for violations of several key sections of the Road Transport Act-2018 until June next year
After the government gave into several demands of truckers and truck owners, leaders of drivers and workers of all commercial vehicles late last night met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at his Dhanmondi home.
“On Wednesday, we had come to a decision after holding a meeting with a section of truck and lorry workers and owners. Their demands are almost the same and we also came to a decision here,” the home boss said after the meeting with Bangladesh Roads Transport Workers Federation leaders.
As per the decisions, parts of nine out 126 sections of the new law will not be effective for now, the minister said.
He, however, did not mention all the nine sections.
Asaduzzaman would recommend the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry to change those sections following due procedure.
Former minister Shajahan Khan, executive president of the federation, after the meeting said they would follow the progress and announce programmes if their demands were not meet by June.
The home minister said that as per the decision made at the meeting, drivers of heavy vehicles would not be penalised for driving with licences meant for light or medium vehicles.
However, the drivers have to get proper licences by June and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) would take necessary measures in this regard.
The home minister would make necessary recommendations to the authorities concerned to waive the dues of transport workers and owners for not renewing their licences and fitness certificates of vehicles.
The home minister said many vehicles had been modified to carry containers. The BRTA technicians would sit with the transport owners to find a solution in this regard by June.
Besides, public transports would not be penalised for illegal parking if there was no parking space, he said.
Shajahan, also an Awami League lawmaker, said they did not ask for reducing jail terms but demanded lowering the hefty fines mentioned in the several sections of the law as it was not possible for a transport worker to pay such large amounts.
He told reporters that there was vagueness in several sections of the act that needs to be clarified. “We have no intention to call strikes and we will not declare any programmes now.”
Road Transport and Highway Division Secretary Nazrul Islam, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam, BRTA Chairman Kamrul Ahsan, federation general secretary Osman Ali were present at the meeting.
Amid widespread student agitation for safe roads, parliament passed the act in September last year to bring discipline on roads. But its implementation remained halted for more than a year as transport leaders allegedly lobbied against it.
The authorities started enforcing the Road Transport Act last Sunday, two weeks after the law came into effect.
Transport workers called wildcat strikes in different districts from Monday, while truck workers and owners called an indefinite strike on Tuesday, demanding amendments to the law.
However, the strike of truck workers and owners was called off early Thursday after the home minister assured them of meeting several of their demands.
The federation in October last year observed a 48-hour strike to press home their eight-point demands.
Their demands include making all offences under the act “bailable”, scrapping the provision for fining a worker Tk 5 lakh for involvement in a road accident, and reducing the minimum educational qualification for obtaining a driving licence to class-V from class-VIII.