Rare accusation, rare admission
In what must be a rarity, a minister has accused the police of indulging in extortion or, as is known in the vernacular parlance, Chandabaaazi. The accusation is in fact an admission of the problem that is behind the systemic dysfunction of traffic system on the highways among other things.
The minister for shipping, perhaps in his capacity as the chairman of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation has ventilated its members' grievance that they have to cough up between 300 and 400 taka on a trip at various points on the national highway. What the minister has said is something that is directly suffered by many and indirectly by most of us. No one can deny that extortion as a whole has tremendous negative impact on the people. The amount passing hands in this manner runs into several thousand crore.
We are certain that the Minister for Home or the IGP may not agree with the shipping minister's assertion, but they, as much as the general public, know what the truth is. However, it is not the police alone that are indulging in extortion; according to the minister, the local mastaans and goons linked to the local MPs, are participating in what is a very lucrative pastime, with gay abundance.
Now that we know who is doing what and how, should we not expect something done about it quickly? Admittedly, it is by no means an easy task. The problem of chandabaazi in the transport sector is fairly representative of the phenomenon pervading other sectors of public and private life. However, the matter is confounded by the gamekeeper turning poacher. And that is where the cleaning up must begin from.
The government should act fast, particularly in view of the forthcoming Ramadan and Eid.