Shajahan backs drivers again
The communications minister yesterday directed drivers to maintain maximum alertness to prevent road accidents while the shipping minister defended them once again saying drivers are not solely responsible for accidents.
Communications Minister Obaidul Quader at an awareness-building programme for drivers directed them to refrain from reckless driving and overloading, and to follow traffic rules and signals to reduce accidents.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, who attended the programme as the executive president of Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation, said faulty road engineering, plying of unfit vehicles, roadside temporary market, and movement of animals are equally responsible for road accidents as the drivers.
Strongly defending the drivers, Shajahan said drivers are not "killers", rather "service providers".
"Academic qualification is not a mandatory prerequisite for a driver. Training is more necessary than academic qualification for a driver," he said.
Both ministers were speaking at a programme organised by Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) in cooperation with Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Malik-Sramik Oikkyo Parishad at the capital's Sayedabad bus terminal.
Speaking as the chief guest, Obaidul Quader said his ministry will give road safety the top most priority.
Repairs of 22 dangerous curves on Dhaka-Aricha highway is in progress and road dividers will be constructed on the highway, he said.
“A weigh station will also be set on the highway to check overloaded vehicles,” he added.
Speaking about the recent bus fare hike, the minister directed bus owners to be vigilant so that no extra is charged over the government-set fare. He also urged them not to increase fare in Dhaka and Chittagong until the government make any announcement.
The government will introduce ferry services on Meghna and Gomuti reivers to reduce load on Meghna and Meghna-Gomati Bridges on Dhaka-Chittagong highway, as both bridges are vulnerable, Obaidul Quader said.
He reiterated that his ministry will focus on repairing existing roads and bridges instead of constructing new ones to ensure road safety and relieve passengers' suffering.
Shajahan Khan stressed the need for arranging training for drivers in every district and to strengthen BRTA and the traffic system.
DMP Commissioner Benazir Ahmed said under-construction flyovers will intensify the city's traffic jam instead of resolving the crisis.
BRTA Chairman Mohammad Ayubur Rahman and leaders of transport owners and workers association also spoke at the programme.