Rejoinder, our reply
The road transport and bridges ministry has issued a rejoinder in response to our report headlined “Lot of actions, little result! Quader heads 3 committees for safe roads, holds meetings rarely, delivers very little” published in The Daily Star on August 19.
Signed by the ministry's Senior Information Officer Md Abu Naser, below we publish the statement, sent in Bangla, along with our reply.
The statement says the road transport and bridges ministry has been working tirelessly to ensure safe roads side by side developing and expanding roads and highways across the country. There are several committees. The committee regarding road safety has units up to upazila. The ministry is eager to call meetings of these committees timely and implement decisions through various ministries to ensure safe roads. This is not the sole task of the ministry. However, it is very sincere about strengthening coordinated efforts. Certain plans are there to implement short, medium and long-term decisions taken at different times. The sweeping allegation made in the report that the decisions of the committees are not implemented is not true.
Meanwhile, activities like stopping CNG-run auto-rickshaws plying on 22 important highways, mending accident-prone spots on Dhaka-Aricha road under special initiative, pulling out non-motorised vehicles off roads and highways, installing signs and signals, preventing setting up of bazars on highways, training of drivers, establishment of training institute, increasing the number of trainers and introducing digital fitness certificate, digital number plate, digital registration and driving licence are either completed or ongoing.
Apart from coordination among the government departments concerned, initiatives of the government and private organisations to build mass awareness are on to ensure safe roads while promulgation of the much-anticipated Road Safety Act is in progress.
The ministry is making efforts to meet the target set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to halve road accidents by 2021. Accordingly, National Road Safety Strategic Action Plan has been adopted and various programmes are being executed.
Coordinated and concerted efforts of all departments concerned, obeying of traffic rules, proper execution of laws and awareness among all can make roads safe.
The rejoinder does not address any of the points made in our report, and makes generalised and vague comments about its work, which was not the focus of our report.
We specifically said committees set up for road safety are supposed to meet every three months which they rarely do. We further said decisions taken by these committees are rarely implemented. Both these points have not been responded to in the ministry's rejoinder.
Hence, we stand by our report.